Rosario Dawson plays Vanessa Hudgens' character's mom in the new film Gimme Shelter. Hudgens plays the role of a pregnant homeless teenager with Dawson as her incredibly abusive crack addicted mother.
During a recent interview with Yahoo, Dawson dished about how this role was very different from those she typically plays, and not in the least bit glamorous.
"That was the challenge and what drew me to this, playing Vanessa Hudgens’ mother," she said. "We both had to really go for it, and if she hadn’t gone all the way, what I was doing would just seem cartoonish and vice versa. When we were going to do this, we were on our way to Cannes – and talk about indulgence and all the glamour, beauty, partying on boats, fabulous dresses and so on! – and suddenly we’re in this motel and I’m barefoot and I’m attacking her, and we’re in it. But that’s what you want as an actor, to challenge yourself."
Dawson is almost unrecognizable in this role in Gimme Shelter.
— Rosario Dawson (@rosariodawson) January 25, 2014
Rosario admitted that some of the film's content hit home with her--taking her to some fairly dark and unusual places in her past.
"We’re doing a fight scene and they’re actually fighting me! It was really painful. So you do put your own life into it," she explained. "My mom was just 16 when she got pregnant with me, and I never knew my biological father. He didn’t choose to be in my life. And then my step-dad stepped in and married my mom when I was one, so I always grew up with a dad . And my grandmother, who raised five kids on her own, could easily have told my mom, ‘You got pregnant – get out of my house!’ But she didn’t, even though she was mad, upset and disappointed. She was scared for my mom and me, but also kept her door open and kept us in. So this film is so close to home for me for so many reasons. My mom also worked in a shelter, in San Francisco, when I was 10, where they took in abused women and their kids. And I grew up in New York in the 80s and 90s and there was this big crack epidemic."
Rosario Dawson has family members who became crack addicts--as she plays in Gimme Shelter--and lost everything they had to the addiction.
"I have family members who suffered crack addiction and lost their entire families and careers and children from it. So all that drew me to doing this film," she said.
Gimme Shelter with Rosario Dawson and Vanessa Hudgens is likely to shed new light on to both of these actors. Hopefully it sheds light on the crack epidemic and the plight of the homeless, too. It is currently playing in theaters nationwide.
Image via Wikimedia Commons