SI: To play a boxer you trained 41/2 hours a day, six days a week for three months and gained 19 pounds of muscle. Would you advise that regimen for couch potatoes?
Swank: I'd recommend them warming up to it. Boxing was physically the hardest thing I've ever done. Ever.
SI: Describe your character's relationship with boxing.
Swank: For Maggie, boxing is her dream. It's a calling, and I also think it's an escape. It's a way out.
SI: How long did it take to get used to hitting and being hit?
Swank: I felt protected because [trainer] Hector Roca would let people hit me only in the body until I got used to moving around. Gradually we got to letting people hit me in the face. Then it was a different game, and it made me better. I got the hang of hitting and being hit, and I enjoyed it. I remember bloodying my first nose. I was like, "Yeah!"
SI: You fight pro boxer Lucia Rijker in one of the film's most important scenes. How intimidating was it?
Swank: She was really supportive, giving me tips and pointers. She would never go all out because she would kill me. If she wanted to remind me that I'm not really a boxer, I'm sure it would have been hell.
SI: You were nominated for a Golden Globe for best actress. How would you feel about your chances if the award were decided in the ring?
Swank: As long as it wasn't against Lucia Rijker, I might be able to hold my own (laughs).