Rosario Dawson stars in Ron Krauss’ Gimme Shelter as June, a drug-addled mother to a daughter she had too young and with too few prospects to give them both a future.

Rosario Dawson Exclusive On ‘Gimme Shelter’

The character, embodied by a transformed Dawson, is the antagonist to Apple (Vanessa Hudgens), her 15-year-old daughter who runs away to her absent father in the hopes of starting a new life – only to find herself pregnant. For Dawson, becoming June included remembering what she witnessed in her childhood.

“I think having grown up in New York in the 80s and 90s during the crack epidemic; the landscape was quite full of people who were suffering from this addiction, so I had a very strong idea of what I should look like and how I should behave,” she told Uinterview exclusively. As for her appearance in the film, Dawson said, “[It was] as accurate as it can actually be, especially with someone who’s been dealing with this addiction for so long.”

Preparation for filmng for Dawson included, “Really deteriorating the [appearance of] the skin and the enamel on my teeth, which was basically like putting nail polish on my teeth. And it was a whole process because I had to have my teeth be really dry and then paint it on and let that dry, so you’re kind of like [makes face]…it was pretty full on.”

Dawson Talks Working With Vanessa Hudgens

Throughout Gimme Shelter, June and Apple get into a number of physical altercations, forcing both Dawson and Hudson to master appearing to be violent without hurting one another.

“As careless and violent and abusive as June, my character, was, is as completely compassionate and empathetic that both of us were with each other in between takes – just constantly checking in with each other like, ‘Did I pull your hair too hard?’ ‘Did I hit you too hard?’” Dawson said. “You know, we’re breaking furniture and things are moving all around you know, but you get caught up in it and I think that really translates on the screen and you have to… There’s a certain line where you have to cross a little bit. If you’re too careful and too precious, it’s just not going to look real.”

Read Uinterview’s ‘Gimme Shelter’ Review

Despite the fact that Dawson and Hudgens’ Gimme Shelter characters are battling each other consistently throughout the film, Dawson found working with the Spring Breakers actress to be genuinely fun.

“Vanessa and I have both played Mimi [from Rent], we’ve both done films with Harmony [Korine], we’ve had a lot of similarities in our career. It’s been really fun because we’ve known each other for a long time, but we’ve never had the chance to work with each other and it was a really fun experience,” Dawson told Uinterview. “Because we have the same sort of sentiment and just like work ethic, it ended up actually being quite collaborative in a sense. It was a really fun experience I have to say. As horrible as it was, it was really fun.”

Gimme Shelter is currently in limited release.

– Chelsea Regan

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