The Rosario Dawson Interview
Now fully-matured, Rosario makes what might be her most memorable appearance yet in Alexander, perhaps upstaging the rest of a star-studded cast with might prove to be an unforgettable nude scene. And Miss Photogenic has already signed on for her next half-dozen outings, which include a musical called My Life in Idlewild, an Iraq War drama called This Revolution, a horror flick called The Devil's Rejects.
Native New Yorker Rosario Dawson was born in on May 9, 1979 with a combination of Puerto Rican, Cuban, Irish, African and Native-American ancestry. She was raised in Manhattan by her construction worker father and teacher mother and attended an alternative high school with plans of pursuing a career in marine biology. Then she was discovered on the street by a casting director who offered her a role in her first film, Kids.
That led to a gig in Spike Lee's He Got Game playing the part of Lala, and appearances in a string of teensploits like Light It Up, Down to You and Josie and the Pussycats. As she outgrew those adolescent roles, she kept very busy with outings in everything from Men in Black II to Sidewalks of
New York to 25th Hour to The Adventures of Pluto Nash to Shattered Glass to The Rundown.
Now fully-matured, Rosario makes what might be her most memorable appearance yet in Alexander, perhaps upstaging the rest of a star-studded cast with might prove to be an unforgettable nude scene. And Miss Photogenic has already signed on for her next half-dozen outings, which include a musical called My Life in Idlewild, an Iraq War drama called This Revolution, a horror flick called The Devil's Rejects, a rock & roll comedy called Vinyl and the screen adaptations of the Broadway play Rent and the comic book Sin City.
KW: How was it working with director Oliver Stone?
RD: "Oh, I've always wanted to work with Oliver. And I'm so excited that it was on something as wonderful as this. I'm beyond enthusiastic."
KW: What made it so great?
RD: "We shot in Morocco for 3 months, in Thailand for a month, and in London for 2 months. So, we really had an opportunity to get to know each other and to disappear into 4th Century, B.C., getting away from modernity to the point where I'm almost in shock that I'm naked in the movie."
KW: How could that happen?
RD: "We were so into making something come to life in a world where censorship just didn't exist that we couldn't judge what life was like then. We didn't have the language for it then. It didn't make sense for me to play someone shy and demure. She was a very strong and incredible character. And now you look at it, and I can't believe it's just a movie. It's been such a remarkable experience for me. The entire process was absolutely great."
KW: And how did you like the finished product?
RD: "As moving an experience as it was making it, I think it's definitely an experience watching it, too. I think the film is really great. It's great that so much of that was actually brought to celluloid, which is not always a guarantee. I'm really, really proud of it and of how everyone was able to take away their egos and service the story and make it as wonderful as I think it is."
KW: How did you approach this role?
RD: "I was 24 when we started doing this, and looking at my life and saw my job as having to read Homer and to dance and to try to give dignity to a woman who existed in the 4th Century, B.C. A woman who I probably wouldn't meet today. She must have been about 15 years old at the time she was getting married to a man who was an awful tyrant. Yet she was still able to be strong and not just a hand-maiden saying, 'Yes, sir.' She maintains her
respect although people who considered her a complete Barbarian still didn't want to honor her as his queen."
KW: How did you grow from the experience?
RD: "There was a great lesson for me in just showing how much strength can be found in being as vulnerable as you can possibly be. That's exactly what
this experience was for me. I don't think anything was left out, and I'm glad."
KW: Have you done nude scenes before?
RD: "In He Got Game actually I was topless, but not anything like this."
KW: Was the nudity called for in Alexander's original script?
RD: "It wasn't written in the original script that way. Oliver brought it to that point through several weeks of rehearsal in Morocco. That's something I was very impressed by. He was extremely passionate and completely open to getting ideas from everybody. We were all shocked by the end result because it was so different from the shooting script. It totally moves differently than it did in the script. But it's the best way the story could have been told."
KW: How does a director suggest that you be naked?
RD: "It wasn't just suggested. We worked it out how it was written, and it just wasn't working. We had to introduce my character and show a relationship in a very short period of time. It turned out that the best thing was for her to be naked and fighting, and for there to be a knife. There couldn't be any moment for shyness, because that didn't exist back then."
KW: Do you regret shooting that scene?
RD: "No, I don't regret anything. I think it's absolutely amazing. It wasn't exploitative. I have a great trust of Oliver. I knew it was going to at least look beautiful. I'd love to work with him again. I might have been naked but everybody's blood, sweat and tears went into this movie."
KW: Do you think this film is historically accurate?
RD: "This is not a historical movie. It's not a boring bio-pic."
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