[03/25/13 - 01:39 PM]
Hilary Swank and Brenda Blethyn Star in the HBO Films Drama "Mary and Martha," Written by Richard Curtis and Directed by Phillip Noyce, Debuting April 20
Sam Claflin, Frank Grillo and James Woods also star in the project.

[via press release from HBO]


Sam Claflin, Frank Grillo And James Woods Also Star

Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Juliette Howell And Liza Chasin Executive Produce; Hilary Bevan Jones And Genevieve Hofmeyr Produce

Oscar(R) winner Hilary Swank ("Million Dollar Baby," "Boys Don't Cry") and Oscar(R) nominee Brenda Blethyn ("Little Voice," "Secrets & Lies") star in HBO Films' MARY AND MARTHA, the story of two mothers who find a way to make a difference, one child at a time. Swank plays an American interior designer who takes her little boy on an extended trip to Africa; Blethyn is an English housewife whose own son heads to Africa as a volunteer. When malaria strikes, the lives of these very different women change forever. They forge a deep friendship and embark on an epic journey of self-discovery to Africa, dedicating themselves to the cause of malaria prevention. Beginning to rebuild their lives, they show how ordinary people can make a difference and inspire positive change in the process. Sam Claflin ("Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides"), Frank Grillo ("End of Watch"), Lux Haney-Jardine ("Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter") and James Woods (HBO's "Too Big To Fail") also star. Phillip Noyce ("Salt") directs from a script by Richard Curtis ("Love Actually").

Debuting SATURDAY, APRIL 20 (8:00-9:45 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, and replaying on World Malaria Day, April 25, MARY AND MARTHA is executive produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Juliette Howell and Liza Chasin and produced by Hilary Bevan Jones and Genevieve Hofmeyr. The film is an HBO Films Presentation of a WTTV Working Title Television Production, in association with BBC and NBC Universal.

Other HBO playdates: April 20 (12:45 a.m.), 21 (5:30 p.m.), 25 (12:15 p.m., 9:00 p.m.), 28 (3:30 p.m., 12:30 a.m.) and 30 (8:30 a.m., 6:15 p.m.), and May 4 (1:00 p.m.), 6 (12:30 p.m., 9:00 p.m.), 9 (4:50 a.m.), 11 (10:00 a.m.) and 15 (4:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: April 23 (10:00 a.m., 8:00 p.m.) and May 5 (9:55 a.m., 8:00 p.m.), 8 (12:10 a.m.), 13 (10:00 a.m., 10:00 p.m.), 21 (9:00 a.m., 8:00 p.m.), 25 (4:45 p.m.) and 31 (6:05 p.m.)

Hilary Swank stars as Mary and Brenda Blethyn stars as Martha, an American interior designer and British housewife who have little in common apart from the one thing they wish they didn't - both have lost sons to malaria. Promising adventure and seeking some time to reconnect with her young son, Mary takes George to South Africa in an effort to be an "extraordinary mom." While on a trip to a remote area, he contracts the disease. Martha's son Ben died while working as a volunteer at an orphanage in Mozambique; he had given his own malaria pills to the children there thinking he was not himself in danger.

When the two mothers meet in Africa, they bond over their shared loss while struggling with their grief and the strains on their marriages. Forging a deep friendship, they dedicate themselves to the cause of malaria prevention at great personal cost. Enlisting the help of Mary's estranged father, a prominent politician, the two women beseech both the powers that be and ordinary people to get involved, realizing a shared responsibility to all the world's children.

Richard Curtis notes that the film addresses a subject close to his heart, observing, "I've 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 [not affiliated with the U.S. organization of the same name], I have come across the tragedy of the startling number of lives taken by malaria every year. This film gives me a chance to write about that too, as well as working with a team of people I hugely admire - Brenda Blethyn, Hilary Swank and the great Australian director, Phillip Noyce."

While the film is a fictional story, Curtis drew from his experiences in charity work. The Martha character was inspired by the real story of Jo Yirrell, whose son died after volunteering in Ghana.

Says Curtis, "It is both fictional and real. The central story of Mary is imagined, though there must be examples of such things happening, and I spoke to a couple of people whose children had been in great danger in similar circumstances. The story of Martha was inspired by the true-life story of Harry and Jo Yirrell. Harry died after volunteering in Ghana, and his mother, a wonderful, boisterous woman, has since then campaigned with Malaria No More UK.

"In my first draft, it was actually called 'Mary Morgan.' It was a great day when I decided to add another story, so there was somewhere else to go, a second tale to cut in and out of. In some ways, though, the story is an autobiography. I began my interest in Africa and malaria just trying to raise money for nets, but now I am equally interested in supporting the fight to get governments and politicians to take up this brilliant challenge and knock out the disease in our lifetime. Mary's journey from sorrow to politics is one that I hugely identify with and it provided the key structure to the film."

MARY AND MARTHA was shot on location in Africa and North Carolina.


More than 1400 kids die each day from malaria, which is one of the top three killer diseases of children around the world, second only to pneumonia and diarrheal diseases. Malaria is caused by a parasite that is passed from person to person by mosquitos. As seen in the film, some of the most useful tools to fight the disease are mosquito nets, which cost $10, and antimalarial treatment, which costs just $1.

The U.S. government and organizations like Malaria No More, Nothing But Nets and ONE are leading the fight and have had tremendous success - malaria deaths are down 33% in Africa in the last decade. Although the disease was eliminated in the U.S. nearly 60 years ago, it remains a serious problem for Africans, where a child is lost to the disease every minute.

For more information on malaria and efforts to end deaths from the disease, visit: www.malarianomore.org.

For more on the film, visit facebook.com/HBO and twitter.com @HBO #MARYandMARTHA.

  [march 2013]  


[10/08/15 - 11:05 AM]
"David Tutera's CELEBrations" Season Three Premieres Friday, October 30 at 10PM ET/PT on WE tv
Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Kim Coles, Ian Ziering, Cynthia Bailey, Big Ang Raiola and Reza Farahan are among those featured in the new season.

[10/08/15 - 11:00 AM]
"Tyrant" Returning For Third Season on FX
The 10-episode third season will air in 2016.

[10/08/15 - 11:00 AM]
AMC Renews "Halt and Catch Fire" for Third Season
Co-creators and writers Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers have been upped to showrunners for the 10-episode third season, which will return to AMC next summer.

[10/08/15 - 10:37 AM]
Jimmy Fallon Generates His Biggest Margin to Date vs. Colbert, Taking the Week of Sept. 28-Oct. 2 in 18-49 by a 41% Advantage
NBC spins the late-night numbers for the week of September 28-October 2.

[10/08/15 - 09:48 AM]
"The Operatives" Is Back Saving the World's Most Precious Wildlife and Eco-Systems in an All-New Season Premiering on Pivot on October 18 at 10 P.M.
With 10, all new, hour-long episodes, Pete Bethune and his hand-picked team of military elite travel to the furthest parts of the world to expose those suspected of endangering our wildlife and environment in an effort to bring them to justice.

[10/08/15 - 09:43 AM]
HBO NOW Arrives Today on the Roku Platform
Roku customers can purchase a subscription directly within the HBO NOW channel on their Roku device, which will also enable them to access the service at HBONOW.com and on other HBO NOW enabled devices.

[10/08/15 - 09:32 AM]
Syfy Launches All-New Virtual Reality Experience for Award-Winning "The Expanse" VR App
The app immerses viewers into the vast world of "The Expanse," giving them the opportunity to enter into locations from the show and experience them in virtual reality.

[10/08/15 - 09:32 AM]
Game 1 of 2015 WNBA Finals Sees Viewership Increase from 2014
ESPN spins the numbers for Sunday, October 4.

[10/08/15 - 09:14 AM]
Video: Extended Trailer for TNT's "The Librarians" Season 2, Premiering Sunday, Nov. 1
Check out the latest tease for the show's sophomore run.

[10/08/15 - 08:44 AM]
Wednesday's Broadcast Ratings: "Empire" Continues Its Reign for FOX
Plus: The CW sees year-to-year growth with the return of "Arrow" and "Supernatural."

[10/08/15 - 08:34 AM]
The Long Anticipated Third Season of David Cross' "Todd Margaret" Returns to IFC on Thursday, January 7, 2016
Jack McBrayer, Will Arnett, Blake Harrison, Sharon Horgan, Amber Tamblyn and Russ Tamblyn are among those featured in the new season.

[10/08/15 - 08:31 AM]
"Chicago P.D." Wins at 10 Among ABC, CBS and NBC in 18-49 and All Other Key Demos
NBC spins the numbers for Wednesday, October 7.

[10/08/15 - 08:28 AM]
"black-ish" Is the Night's Only Program to Post Week-to-Week Growth
ABC spins the numbers for Wednesday, October 7.

[10/08/15 - 08:22 AM]
HBO Latin America to Launch New Streaming Service for Latin America and the Caribbean
The company plans to start deploying the service in markets throughout the region, beginning with a launch in Colombia by the end of the year.

[10/08/15 - 08:01 AM]
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Rings in the Holidays with "The Most Wonderful Movies of Christmas," Featuring Originals and Beloved Christmas Classics Round-the-Clock Beginning October 31
Said lineup includes "Murder She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery," "The Christmas Note," "Magic Stocking" and "Debbie Macomber's Dashing Through The Snow."