Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

INTERVIEW: Vanessa Hudgens of ‘Gimme Shelter’

Vanessa Hudgens is one of the few actresses in Hollywood that was able to successfully break away from her earlier films (High School Musical) and turn her career into one filled with much more daring roles. She was excellent in Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers where she played a wild college student who gets into some major criminal activity and in Scott Walker’s The Frozen Ground where she played a prostitute opposite Nicolas Cage and John Cusack.

In Gimme Shelter, Hudgens plays pregnant teen Apple, who ran away from home to get away from her abusive mother (Rosario Dawson). Apple finds herself on the streets of New Jersey and after a near-death car accident ends up in the hospital where a priest (James Earl Jones) helps Apple find a shelter that specializes in helping pregnant teens.

Hudgens physically transformed into Apple by cutting her hair and gaining 15 pounds for the role. She also spent several weeks living at Several Sources Shelter in New Jersey, where the film was based. In our interview, Hudgens talks about the real women behind the amazing true story, how important it was that Rosario Dawson play the role of her mother, and of course, the incredibly underrated Spring Breakers, one of my favorite films of 2013.

Gimme Shelter comes to theatres January 24, 2014 in select DC area theatres.

Feature Photo Credit: Mae Abdulbaki (

vanessa hudgens

Lauren: Congratulations on the movie, I thought your performance was just fantastic.

Vanessa: Thank you!

Lauren: I love how you’re this young actress that isn’t afraid to take daring roles like Spring Breakers, which was my number two movie last year.

Vanessa: (Laughs) I’ve heard from your boyfriend.

Lauren: I’m legitimately obsessed with that movie!

Vanessa: What was your #1?

Lauren: Gatsby.

Vanessa: Well, Baz is always great.

Lauren: I love that you are taking more daring roles, even your character in The Frozen Ground is similar to your one in Gimme Shelter. When you’re reading a script, what do you look for and what makes you say you have to do this?

Vanessa: I’m very selective on the things that I do but I’m lucky enough to be in a place where I can be. I honestly first listen to my intuition and my gut and if its given me good vibes then I’m down for it. But I love the idea of transformation and being able to be a chameleon and really kind of trip people out when they are watching me on screen, because it seems like such a different person. [I look for] someone who has depth and is real and something that I haven’t been able to explore in the past. I love as an actor that you are able to put yourself in situations that you have personally never been in. So I think the further away from me the character is, the kind of cooler and more of a challenge it is.

Lauren Bradshaw ( I noticed in Gimme Shelter that you had different mannerisms that you added to the character, like easting really fast and a different kind of walk; is there anything else that you added to your character like that?

Vanessa: Yeah, so much honestly. And every moment I tried to think of something where I could set Apple aside from Vanessa. Whether it was playing with the lips rings I had on, the way I spoke, the way I would take care of myself. In every moment I was trying to find something that would make it a bit more harsh and ugly. It’s raw and its real and its vulnerable and there’s definitely not a stone unturned.

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