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Vanessa Hudgens on playing a homeless teen mom

“It has never been a plan to get away from [“High School Musical].”

Vanessa Hudgens giving signatures at the "Gimme Shelter" screening. (Cara Kelly/TWP) Vanessa Hudgens giving signatures at the “Gimme Shelter” screening. (Cara Kelly/TWP)

— Vanessa Hudgens on whether her agents pushed her into the role of a homeless 16-year-old in Ronald Krauss’s “Gimme Shelter” in order to shake up her innocent Disney image. Hudgens found herself explaining her choice at a D.C. screening of her new film on Tuesday.

“I’m very picky about the projects that I do and I try to keep it varied, I don’t like staying stagnant,” she told the audience Monday night at E Street Cinema.

The wild, drug-riddled picture, “Spring Breakers” may not have been enough for the Hudge to distance herself from the squeaky-clean role of Gabrielle Montez of “High School Musical.”

Starting from left: Kathy DiDiore, Ron Krauss and Vanessa Hudgens. (Cara Kelly/TWP) Starting from left: Kathy DiDiore, Ron Krauss and Vanessa Hudgens. (Cara Kelly/TWP)

In “Gimme Shelter” Hudgens stars alongside Rosario Dawson and James Earl Jones. Krauss wrote the film while living in Several Sources Shelters, a facility for pregnant teens founded by Kathy DiFiore. The screenplay is based on the lives of several mothers in the shelter, including one young woman who largely shaped the lead character Apple (Hudgens), a physically and emotionally abused sixteen-year-old who tries to escape her drug-addicted mother (Dawson) and finds herself pregnant and homeless.

“I was really the one who said I’m doing this,” said Hudgens, “I need it, it is my soul’s purpose to do this film.” 

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Cara Kelly is an Editorial Product Manager for the Emerging News Products team.
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