North Texas Daily

Interview: Vanessa Hudgens digs deep in ‘Gimme Shelter’

Interview: Vanessa Hudgens digs deep in ‘Gimme Shelter’

Interview: Vanessa Hudgens digs deep in ‘Gimme Shelter’
January 24
13:30 2014

Preston Barta / Film Critic

From the sprightly “High School Musical” films to the vigorous “Spring Breakers” (2012), Vanessa Hudgens has enjoyed quite the career. Now, the 25-year-old actress plans to stretch her acting skills even more with the new gritty pregnant-teen drama, “Gimme Shelter.”

To play Agnes “Apple” Baily, a pregnant runaway teen who finds refuge in a New Jersey home for young mothers, Hudgens lived in an actual homeless shelter for two weeks preparing for the role, interacting with young mothers and removing herself from her normal life.

The North Texas Daily caught up with Hudgens to talk about her new film and what it was like stepping away from the role after the cameras were rolling.

I imagine this was a tough film to shoot. What would you say was the most difficult scene to shoot during the filming of this movie?

Vanessa Hudgens: “You know it’s really interesting because I don’t think of it as difficult. I think of it as exciting because I was really passionate about this project. I was more than willing to put in the work. The deeper I got, the more thrilled I became. But then again, I did have a moment where I did break down because I was really uncomfortable in one of the scenes that we did. I was afraid that someone was going to get hurt. But overall, it was a fun but challenging process.”

May I ask what scene?

Hudgens: “It was a scene – it’s so random – where I am walking down the street and a pimp rolls up to me. It’s right before a car crash takes place. But in the scene, they wanted me to drive as close to him as possible after I managed to steal the car from him. His name was Jeff and he was my bodyguard while we were filming in the dodgy areas. I just don’t like the idea of people getting hurt. It really freaked me out and gave me serious anxiety. I had to stop and remind myself how to breathe.”


I really thought that the pimp was going to be Gucci Mane for a second.

Hudgens: “I know, right?” [Laughs]

Your character, Apple, is dragged in multiple directions and I was wondering how you think that could parallel your career in the past few years?

Hudgens: “Interesting. Yeah, Apple is strong. She is such a survivor. I love strong women and I think that is what really attracted me to her. But she does take her life into her own hands and she doesn’t look at her circumstance or condition. She has her own will. I think that definitely reflects my own career. I had my circumstance, but I am taking things into my own hands as well and fighting for the things that I want.”

I saw a lot of parallels with your character in “Spring Breakers,” Candy, and Apple.

Hudgens: “You did?”

Well, you’re both independent and going out on your own. If by some chance Candy and Apple ran into each other, what do you think they would say to each other?

Hudgens: “I feel as though Candy would have a hard time giving Apple the time of day. I think Candy is very judgmental and only sees what she wants. So I don’t think Apple would fit into that master plan of hers. And that’s another reason why I love this movie, too, because it really sheds light on the fact that it’s really easy for people to make snap judgments. But you come to realize that [these girls] are human beings and need help, and we can give it to them.”

You’ve explored several different genres of movies, from family-friendly films such as “High School Musical” to very dark films like “Spring Breakers.” How different was it for you taking on this role? Were you intimidated?

Hudgens: “Oh yeah, of course. It’s terrifying [Laughs] to dive into something and not really know if you can go there because you’ve never tried to before. It’s terrifying, especially because it’s being documented for forever. But yeah, it’s a complete one-eighty compared to my past roles. I’ve never done anything like this. Everything was different: the way that I walked, talked and moved. But it was so much fun and I really had such a blast. If I could do something like this – but you know, a complete different character – I would jump at it. It’s a dream role. It really is.”

How was it walking away from it? Was it easy or hard to let go of Apple?

Hudgens: “No, it sucked [Laughs]. It was really hard because consciously I stayed into character the entire time. I put so much work into becoming that person and stepping out of it would just be taking away from the work that I put in. So when I got home I would look into the mirror, I would still see Apple. I didn’t see Vanessa. I didn’t know who Vanessa was. I completely lost sight of myself. So it took awhile. It took a lot of time— just taking care of myself, giving myself love and getting back in my body. It was tough getting comfortable with me again.”

“Gimme Shelter” opens today at Cinemark West Plano 20 and Legacy 24 in Plano.

Photos: Vanessa Hudgens shed her locks and gained 15 pounds to play Agnes “Apple” Baily. Courtesy of Roadside Attractions.

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