Curiosities | “Freedom Writers”, biopic with Hilary Swank, turns 15!



If you remember your school days – and growing up in the 2000s – you’ve probably crossed paths with the feature film “Liberty Freedom Writers”.

Starring Oscar winner Hilary Swank and written and directed by Richard LaGravenese, the title has become a classic and has been used widely to explain classroom dynamics and the important role of teachers in educating people. In the plot, an idealistic young teacher arrives at a school in a poor neighborhood, corrupted by aggression and violence. Students are rebellious and unwilling to learn, and there is constant racial tension between them. So, to make students learn and also talk more about their complicated life, Professor Gruwell relies on different teaching methods. Gradually, students regain self-confidence, accept more knowledge and recognize values.

Based on the novel “The Freedom Writers Diary” by Erin Gruwell and the students of Woodrow Wilson College who wrote the journal, the production received rave reviews and also made considerable noise at the box office, grossing 43.1 million dollars worldwide (against a budget of $ 21 million). .

To celebrate its 15th anniversary, which is celebrated tomorrow, January 5th, CinePOP has put together a list with some behind-the-scenes anecdotes.

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In the dinner scene at the student hotel after the visit to the Holocaust museum, all the characters who survived the genocide promoted by Nazi Germany are true survivors and include Renee Firestone, Eddie Ilam, Elisabeth Mann and Gloria Ungar. The real Erin Gruwell pays tribute to Hilary Swank for the actress saying she didn’t care about the money. She was even thrilled to hear that Swank would play her.

The “toast for change” scene actually took place in real life. As in the film adaptation, Gruwell gave each of his students a plastic champagne flute filled with apple cider. During the toast, everyone agreed to give each other a chance to start over. This was the second project where Swank played a real person. The other biopic was “Boys Don’t Cry,” from 1999, in which he played Brandon Teena.

On Erin’s first day of work at school, the audience sees one of the students graffiti on a school wall and a college member interrupts him. The man in question is Horace Hall, professor at the Royal Woodrow Wilson School. The actress who plays Miep Gies in the feature film, Pat Carroll, also voiced Ursula in the animated classic “The Little Mermaid” in 1989. When the cast of “Freedom Writers” appeared on the Oprah show Winfrey, actress April Hernandez (who played Eva Benitez) said he had never, in his entire life, said he hated white people.

In the adaptation, Erin devotes herself more to the art of teaching and her husband Scott (Patrick Dempsey) begins to feel neglected. Eventually, they divorce – and this part of the movie happened in Erin’s life, as they both go their separate ways for similar reasons. The film was not shot at Woodrow Wilson College. The classroom has been recreated in an audio editing studio. Some of the original Liberty Writers made special appearances in the feature film.

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