Rosario Dawson was drawn to the storyline of her new teen pregnancy drama Gimme Shelter, because her own mother was still a youth when she gave birth to the actress.
The Sin City star plays the drug-addicted mother of Vanessa Hudgens' character, who runs away and tries to survive on her own after discovering she is expecting a baby.
Dawson admits the project struck a chord with her as the issues of poverty and a struggle to survive mirrored those of her own upbringing.
She tells the New York Daily News, "My mom had me when she was 17. I grew up in a squat in the Lower East Side (in Manhattan), and the dropout rate and teen pregnancy rate in my hood was very high. Luckily, my mom had some support and was a good role model. She told me I could be anything I wanted to be."
Dawson also reveals Gimme Shelter gave her an opportunity to explore the lives of those less fortunate onscreen, adding, "There are lots of roles that allow you to play out happy endings. But what about the people who don't get it right? This film was an opportunity to play someone who doesn't have a way out. She does not have a community around her."