Rosario Dawson has become something of a mainstay in the comic book/ sci-fi genre of late with a number of roles on shows that have appealed to the fanboy/ fangirl base. And heck, she’s about to get her own feature in the Star Wars universe which will likely fully cement her legacy in sci-fi circles. But before this all started, the talented actress played a much (much) different role in an often overlooked movie. There’s a chance to see Rosario Dawson play a character much rawer than what she’s up to these days. That’s because Gimme Shelter just hit streaming on Netflix.
Before 2013’s Gimme Shelter hit screens, Rosario Dawson had been playing rather conventional roles in movies like Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and Eagle Eye. But this movie gave her a chance to really show off the acting chops. She plays a drug-addicted, down and out (understatement) mother to Vanessa Hudgens’s lead character, a teenager who is pregnant and finds herself in a women’s shelter. It’s a painful role that finds you simultaneously repulsed by, but also somewhat sympathetic to a character who clearly has significant and heartbreaking problems.
While Gimme Shelter was summarily panned with critics, finishing at just 29% on the Rotten Tomatometer it had little to do with Rosario Dawson. Both she and Hudgens were generally praised by critics for their respective performances. Dawson especially went through a full transformation in the movie, looking almost nothing like her current self. More than any other role, this film gave the idea that Dawson had a real acting range and didn’t need to play standard parts in forgettable movies. The chops were there, looking and acting every bit the part of a drug-addled addict.
After Gimme Shelter, Rosario Dawson went on to a role in Netflix’s Daredevil in which she played Claire Temple, a nurse who saves Matt Murdock’s life on more than one occasion. She was excellent as Temple, dipping her toes slightly into the superhero world here without having any powers to speak of. Dawson was more of the sanity/ comforting running mate to a character who clearly needed help. She eventually reprised the role in all of Netflix’s Defenders shows including Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones.
And of course, now she’s become fully entrenched in the Star Wars universe. Her role in the second season of The Mandalorian has led to a headliner in a show of her own, Ahsoka. The titular character, a Togruta Jedi padawan, had a history in a number of different Star Wars animated productions. But Rosario Dawson was the first to play her in a live-action format and she crushed the role.
It’s led to a three-season commitment by Disney+ to develop the show. From what we’ve seen already from Rosario Dawson, there’s no doubt she can carry the mantle as the lightsaber-wielding main character. Fans loved her in Season 2 and that’s likely to carry over to the character’s own adventures and backstory.
Season 3 of The Mandalorian is set to hit Disney+ in late 2021 and speculation has it that Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka will debut right behind it. Before then though, catch up with her in a decidedly different role. Gimme Shelter will only reinforce what a talent the actress is and just how much range she can bring to a character.