OSCAR-winner Hilary Swank loved shooting new movie RED DUST in Africa - because it gave her the chance to come face to face with wild animals.

The animal-loving BOYS DON'T CRY star spent Christmas (03) in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda making the movie, and she fell in love with the country's beasts.

She says, "It was three months in Africa. It was a lifelong dream of mine to go on safari so I went to Kenya and Tanzania and Uganda; I saw some amazing animals.

"At one point I had a cheetah jump onto the hood of the Jeep we were in. She jumps on the hood and she used it as a platform on which to hunt.

"She was there for five minutes and I took the most amazing pictures. She was three feet away.

"I saw the big five animals - lions, elephants, giraffe; I saw gorillas. There's only 650 of them left; it's very sad. The great thing is the tours are keeping them alive. It's an amazing incredible experience."

09/02/2004 21:39