The film premieres on HBO on April 20.
EARLIER: "Mary and Martha" has begun shooting in South Africa and North Carolina, with director Phillip Noyce and stars Hilary Swank ("Boys Don't Cry," "Million Dollar Baby") and Brenda Blethyn ("Secrets & Lies," "Pride & Prejudice"). Based on Richard Curtis' screenplay, the film is an HBO Films/Working Title production. A detailed synopsis is below. Joining Swank and Blethyn are James Woods, Frank Grillo, Ian Redford and Stephanie Faracy.
HBO Films' Len Amato says they were "especially attracted to Richard Curtis’ approach to the story – bringing a human touch to this serious and often overlooked issue about a disease that is preventable and can be eradicated." Curtis adds that he's "always wanted to write a film about the fact that when you have children, there’s always the possibility of extreme joy and extreme sorrow. And over the years, working with Comic Relief, I have come across the tragedy of the startling number of lives taken by malaria every year.”
"Mary and Martha" is an HBO Films Presentation, produced by Working Title Television in association with BBC and NBC Universal. Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Liza Chasin and Juliette Howell serve as exec producers; Genevieve Hofmeyr and Hilary Bevan Jones are producing.
Hilary Swank stars as Mary and Brenda Blethyn stars as Martha, an American and an Englishwoman who have little in common apart from the one thing they wish they hadn’t – both have lost sons to malaria. Promising adventure and fun, Mary took her young son, George, to Africa, where he subsequently contracted the disease, while Martha’s son, Ben, died while working as a volunteer at an orphanage in Mozambique. When the two immensely different women meet in Africa, they bond over their shared personal loss. Forging a deep friendship, they vow to dedicate themselves to the cause of malaria prevention, realizing that, as mothers, they have a responsibility to all the world’s children.