Having been famously discovered while sitting on her front stoop in New York City, Rosario Dawson has moved smoothly from rough-edged indie-fare like "Kids" to sleek, big-budget extravaganzas such as "Men in Black II." Though her latest film, Oliver Stone's "Alexander," in which she appears alongside high-wattage co-stars Angelina Jolie, Colin Farrell and Val Kilmer, has received a thumping in the media, her unbridled enthusiasm for the project is downright infectious.
In expressing her attitude toward the unconventional, globe-trotting "Alexander" shoot, as well as her electrifying and much-discussed wedding-night scene, which finds her both naked and wielding a knife, she says, "You've got to go for it, and then figure out the damage later." While she stands at the intersection of hotel lobby and elevator bank, a sheepish and apologetic young man expresses his appreciation for Dawson's work and quickly moves on. Broadly waving and flashing her bright, wide smile, Dawson yells after him, "Don't be sorry!"
You've been involved in big-budget films before. Was there something different about the "Alexander" shoot?
This was absolutely beyond. Those other things were either very modern-day or all shot inside a studio. It's great to see an amazing set, but it was nothing like this. We did have a studio in London that re-created the inside of palaces in Babylon and India, but we also shot outside. The first shot of the production, we were in Morocco up on a hill and Alexander is about to go into battle and his hair is blowing, and I remember thinking, "This is the first thing we shoot?" And I was there for the last shot too. It was really amazing to watch it all come together. Yes, there is some computer animation and whatever, but we shot there. I remember standing on a ridge, overlooking the sea and Oliver saying, "That's going to be a million people down there."