For Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank, “Ordinary Angels” is a deeply personal movie.

Swank told the Deseret News in a video call that she had lost her father five months prior to filming. He had been the recipient of a lung transplant. “I felt like he sent me this script,” she said.

“He was a Christian and he loved being of service to other people. He needed a lung transplant and so the power of saving lives through organ donation and just really serving other people” resonated with Swank. She said the script was chock-full of things that reminded her of her father, like “showing up for other people and being imperfect and being able to still be there for other people through all your own stuff.”

“Ordinary Angels” is a film that will be released in theaters on Feb. 23 about a real-life story of a Kentucky church community coming together to support a young girl with a liver condition after her mother passed away. The girl needs a transplant, her father is working just to keep the family afloat and the hero behind it is unexpected.

Alan Ritchson plays the father, named Ed, and Swank plays Sharon, the woman who rallies the community to help support the family in their time of need.

The star of ‘Reacher’ has a message for Christians

The film is from the director of movies like “The Case for Christ” and the creators of the box-office surprise “Jesus Revolution.” Jon Gunn, the director, has another film that’s expected to be released sometime next year called “The Unbreakable Boy,” about a young boy who has a bone disease.

Swank said she hopes people walk away from the film feeling inspired. “I hope they feel reminded of the good that people can do,” she said.

It may seem like a departure from Ritchson’s typical fare of action movies, but the “Reacher” star also said he was drawn to the story because of the power of community.

“I love the fact that, especially, this real-life hero had so many struggles that he wasn’t able to use any form of toxic masculinity to cure and no violence could save him in this situation,” Ritchson said, adding that it was a different kind of character than he normally plays. “I was drawn to the real-life drama that just calls an entire community to action.”

Portraying Ed in the movie, Ritchson said, “means the world to me.” He joked that if he could keep one characteristic of his character, it would be “the handlebar mustache.”

“No, I think the authenticity that Ed had, you know, he’s a soft-spoken guy who doesn’t really know how to ask for help and really wrestled with his faith through this entire process and to me, that’s real. That’s real life. That’s something every one of us can relate to,” Ritchson said.

Both Ritchson and Swank said there was something particularly special about playing characters who are real people with real lives.

“I love works of fiction, but when you have the opportunity to honor those who have dealt with so much struggle and trauma that we’re making movies about it, it’s done with a very heavy heart and kid gloves,” Ritchson said.

“You get to walk in these shoes and see through the eyes of another human being,” Swank said. “And as a storyteller, each story you get to tell infuses who you are and you hold them in your heart and you just walk a little differently.”

Is ‘Ordinary Angels’ based on a true story?

Yes, it is. In 1994, Ed Schmitt was struggling to make ends meet. His wife had passed away. His daughter Michelle developed a deadly liver condition called biliary atresia and needed a liver transplant. The family was dealing with mounting medical bills. A woman named Sharon saw the family’s struggles and helped get money to the family so they could begin to tackle their bills.

When a liver became available, the community came together to shovel away the snow so Michelle could be life-flighted to the hospital. After receiving the donation, Michelle lived for 30 years.

How to watch ‘Ordinary Angels’

“Ordinary Angels” is available to watch in theaters across the country starting on Feb. 23. Streaming dates have not been announced.