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Interview with Phillip Noyce

"This is a film about the power of the human spirit, and its message is that the power is in you."

HBO

What attracted to you to this project?

PHILLIP NOYCE

Well, Mary and Martha is an extraordinary story of love, of family, of loss, of renewal. The intensity of the story, the intensity of the relationships, and the characters just spoke to me. Mary and Martha: two mothers joined by loss, who find their way home.

HBO

These are such strong characters. How did you go about casting such extraordinary women?

PHILLIP NOYCE

Hilary Swank is someone Ive tried to work with for years; weve had many projects that have almost got before cameras. So I went to her knowing she would respond to the material, and that she could deliver the extreme highs and extreme lows required of Mary. And then, if youre thinking about British actresses, I dont think theres anyone who is more extraordinary than Brenda Blethyn - an actress who has this innate ability to get to the heart of the matter.

These two women are united in loss. And its a bond thats formed rather quickly by the enormity of what theyve lost. And we sense, as an audience, that these two women are bound together, and they feel that their very survival, their very recovery depends on maintaining that bond. And they set out on a journey thats going to take them deeper into the tragedy theyve already experienced.

HBO

Can you tell us a little about that journey?

PHILLIP NOYCE

Well, you know, I think this is not a story about malaria. This is a story about our greatest fear: that our children will be taken from us. And as much as we could ever think about what we would do in that circumstance, we never know what to do. And this is the story of two women who find that the way to recover is to do something to save others, to reach out. As Mary says, If I can save one child in the whole world, then maybe this experience, this loss will have been worthwhile.

HBO

What do you hope audiences take away from this story?

PHILLIP NOYCE

This movie doesnt have a message, per se, except perhaps to remind us of the depths of love of which were all capable, the depth of feeling which humans are capable of, and of the power that we all have within ourselves to renew ourselves, to put ourselves back together, even in the most extraordinarily adverse circumstances. This is a film about the power of the human spirit, and its message is that the power is in you.

Mary and Martha

HBO Films