The Selfless Reason ‘Away’ Star Hilary Swank Took a Break From Acting

Hilary Swank currently stars as Commander Emma Green in the Netflix original series Away. The show follows Astronaut Green on a treacherous mission to Mars alongside an international crew. Though she bravely accepts the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Green leaves behind a daughter and husband to embark on the three-year journey. 

Hilary Swank
Hilary Swank | Steve Grantiz / Contributor

Though Hilary Swank is a two-time Oscar-winning actor known for memorable turns in Boys Don’t Cry, Million Dollar Baby, Freedom Writers, The Homesman, and more, Swank took a brief break from showbiz a few years back. Yet, it wasn’t to step out of the spotlight or battle imposter syndrome (as is sometimes the case in the biz). She stepped away to care for a loved one. 

Hilary Swank’s father received a lung transplant a few years back

As CinemaBlend notes, Hilary Swank sat down with Stephen Colbert back in 2018. She talked about her return to acting after caring for her father following a lung transplant. She noted that her father was doing well after a health battle: 

For those of you that don’t know, my dad got a lung transplant. It’s the hardest surgery a person can undergo and I thank all the people who make themselves a donor, it saves lives. Yeah, so they had given him a short time to live if he didn’t get a lung transplant and thankfully he got one and he’s alive and thriving and well.

As qtd. in CinemaBlend 

Hilary Swank thanked all the donors out there who make a choice to save lives, before going on to explain her choice to leave acting behind for a little while to ensure her father received the care he needed. 

‘Away’ star Hilary Swank talks about caring for her father 

Hilary Swank explained that she was more than willing to step away from the industry to take care of her father. She ended up taking a three-year break until he was healthy enough and strong enough for her to return to work. She said, “I took, yeah, three years off to be with him and help him through that life journey.” 


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Since returning, Swank has had no issue finding roles in Logan Lucky, Trust, I am Mother, and now Away. The talented actor has managed to snag a handful of inspiring roles throughout her career, often taking on real-life women or characters who stand for righteous causes and/or independence and bravery.