Hilary Swank

Hilary Swank

Oscar winner Hilary Swank is heading to the small screen in the UK to star in a moving tale of two mothers who lose their sons to malaria.

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

The Million Dollar Baby actress will star opposite British veteran Brenda Blethyn in Mary and Martha, which is written by Four Weddings and a Funeral moviemaker Richard Curtis.

The acclaimed stars will play two moms whose sons die of the killer mosquito-borne disease while they are in Africa, and will highlight the perils of malaria in the run-up to Britain's Comic Relief charity drive, which helps impoverished third world children.

Curtis says: "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, 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."

The film will air on the BBC early next year.