Swank was also moved by the central romance of Amelia the relationship between Earhart and her husband, the public relations vanguard, George P. Putnam, who kept Amelia’s flights financed via a constant spate of public appearances, advertisements and sponsorships.
"I think they have a beautiful love story because George really did everything he could to see Amelia’s dreams through," she explains. "I think she understood that this was a part of her job, a part of being able to fly."
She also admired Amelia’s brutal honesty with George. "He asked her to marry him many times and she always told him that she didn’t want to be held to the conventional restraints of a marriage, which was so ahead of its time," Swank says. "But at the same time, she also expressed a great deal of love for him."
Working with Richard Gere in the role brought all the tenderness and conflict of their relationship to the fore. "Richard is an old soul who walks around with his heart on his sleeve, and I think those are also the characteristics of George Putnam," she observes.
Once Amelia and George did marry, biographers believe that Earhart carried on an affair with the aviator Gene Vidal, who would, with Amelia’s support, soon join the Roosevelt administration as head of the brand new Bureau of Air Commerce. Swank says it was easy to understand the attraction between them.
"With Gene, she had this shared passion, they both loved to fly and both wanted to advance the business of aviation in America and they saw the world in a similar way because of that," she explains. "Ewan brought a richness to the character that made him the complete opposite of Richard. Both men were an embodiment of what Amelia wanted in life, and yet they were so different."
For Swank, the international production filled with flights both real and simulated was a non-stop adventure, but throughout, she says she had another heroine, aside from Amelia, keeping her grounded: Mira Nair.
"I think Mira is a kindred spirit of Amelia," Swank concludes. "She’s a force of nature, a very strong woman who doesn’t apologize for being strong. It’s wonderful to see a woman command respect the way she does and have such a clear vision. It’s a breath of fresh air."
Amelia is released 13th November.
Tagged in Hilary Swank