By Ryan Parsons | Images property of Dimension Films
Rosario Dawson has established a definitive persona over her career in movies. When director Gabriele Muccino cast her in Seven Pounds, he didn't want any of that. He wanted her to be Emily, a physically weak patient waiting for a heart transplant.
Rosario Dawson on Seven Pounds
"I was ready for it," Dawson said. "It hurt sometimes. It was something to kind of get over, your ego, whatever. 'No, I'm not doing that again.' 'Yes, you are.' 'Okay.' And just really just be with it because I didn't want to fight being a better actor. I didn't want to fight not getting something right with Emily. I wanted to fight to do that so that was an interesting thing to be wrestling all the way through and I just was so grateful actually for the 15 years I've been acting that allowed me to be present for that because I couldn't have done this 10 years ago."
In the film, Ben Thomas (Will Smith), selects Emily as a possible candidate for some mysterious good deed he's planning to bestow. As the film opens with Ben's suicide and flashes back, one can assume it is a posthumous blessing.
"People who are coming from a kind of more negative place and space in their life might see this film as a tragedy. People who think of themselves as a good person or just to a degree are coming from a more positive place see this movie as a love story. I definitely see this movie as a love story. I'm really connected to the compassion between the characters and how beautiful it is, the idea of strangers reaching out to each other and having such a positive effect. I believe in that so much."
The film also resonated with Dawson's personal pursuits outside of Hollywood. "It's inherent in all the work that I do, either with Voto Latino or VDAY, Lower East Side Girls Club, I believe in that concept so strongly. The ideas in this film I think are tremendously important to be shared in the large scale. It was one of the reasons why I'm so excited and encouraged by the fact that Will and Gabriele are doing this. This is a story that's normally relegated to an independent film and is now being able to be put out into the mouthpiece of huge cineplexes because of the stardom that comes with it."
Even in her earliest work, Dawson has sought out films that can make a difference in the world. "I've been drawn to scripts like that over the years. I feel really lucky that actually the first movie I ever did was Kids. That movie really talked about really important issues to me. Even though I was playing the kind of character that wasn't really supportive of those ideas, it was important. I have always understood that sometimes my role is not to play the good girl all the time but to play the real person and do that storyline and being able to see it all in a three dimensional piece. It's like you get a three act piece, then you get to make your own choices and decisions. It's like reading a great book or listening to a great song. It can change your life."