Actress/singer Jennifer Hudson turned to real-life addicts to help research her role as a drugged-up mom in new movie The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete after struggling to relate to the character.
The Oscar-winning Dreamgirls star admits she was "terrified" by the part of Gloria in the coming-of-age indie drama because she was stepping into a world she had no experience of, so she decided to meet with embattled mothers to help her better understand the troubles her character faces.
The encounters proved so insightful, Hudson hired one young woman as an on-set consultant to ensure her portrayal was accurate and she's glad she decided to tackle the project because it gave her the opportunity to show herself in a different light.
She tells Eonline.com, "If you're going to go for it, you go for it. It was so interesting because I was completely introduced to a world I didn't know... I was in tattoos and crazy hair and in this complete rawness.
"What I love most about this project is it has allowed me to step outside the box. This industry will put you in a box. 'Jennifer Hudson, sing! Do a musical!' It's like, 'No!' There's so much more I want to do and there's so much more I feel like I could do. It's not that often you get those opportunities. So that's why when this came along, I was like, 'I'm in. Even though I'm terrified, I'm all in.'"
And director George Tillman, Jr. has praised Hudson for her determination to convincingly pull off the role.
He says, "She came on set with the tattoos and the rocker hair and I thought, 'She's really dedicated. She really went for it.' It was about the movie. She said, 'I don't care what people think. I want to play this right.' She was fearless."
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, produced by singer Alicia Keys, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah last week (17Jan13).