Rosario Dawson in "Trance."
LOS ANGELES — Rosario Dawson has nothing to hide.
She’s the one who brings up her full frontal nude scenes in “Trance” (opening Friday), about an art heist that goes awry.
James McAvoy is a young thief who gets bumped on the head. She’s the gorgeous therapist who goes to extremes to dip into his memory bank.
“The nudity is something that has become a focal point of this movie,” says the good-natured Dawson.
“I think you should only be nude in a film if it reveals something much more than just flesh. This wasn’t the obvious, visually titillating nude scene. It was about reviving someone’s memory, and that made it feel very dangerous and risky.”
Dawson didn’t find any risk in working with director Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire,” “127 Hours”) on one of the more intense movies of 2013. .
“Years ago I met with Danny on another project that didn’t happen. I was just so blown away by him,” she says. “This came along and he called, but I was a little afraid. I had to go to levels with this movie that were demanding. I really had to dig.
“It’s not every day you see a woman in a movie who uses her cleverness and audacity in this way,” says Dawson, whose shrink character is known for putting others in to a trance-like state to get results.
“She’s a different type of femme fatale,” says Dawson. “She’s not overly vampy, but I did toss a little Joan Crawford into her.”
She also explored the world of the mind, learning how to make her voice soothing enough to put someone into a state of altered consciousness.
“I knew I got the voice down when I made a recording of me saying some of the getting-into-the trance-like-state lines. Then I went out to dinner with my friend Tara and asked her to listen to the tape on the way to the restaurant,” she says. “We were driving through the French countryside, and her eyes were closing listening to my voice.
“Now, I know why they say not to operate big machinery while listening to motivational speeches.”
Boyle asked the cast to meet with professionals.
“We had a session in London where this guy tried to put me, James and Vincent Cassel into a trance,” she says. “None of us got into it. All of us tried to stay awake to see if anybody else fell into a trance. But the guy still did cool tricks with a hanging pendulum.
“We were told that 5 percent of the population of the world is highly suggestible to these trances. We didn’t want to be part of the 5 percent,” she says, adding, “He did tell James that he couldn’t pull his fingers apart because they were glued. I think it worked for a minute, but I’m still not sure if James was pulling our legs.”
Are there any bad habits Dawson would like to fix with trance work? “For me, I’d like to work on my focus. My friends say I start in the middle and eventually get to that thing in the beginning that I didn’t want to do.”
The 33-year-old native of New York, known for movies including “Seven Pounds” (2008) and “Death Proof” (2007), soon will star in a “Sin City” sequel called “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.”
Dawson divulges, “It’s eight years later and it’s really exciting. Everyone wanted to do something new with the movie and it’s really cool.
“I can tell you that I’m back as Gail, or should I say badass Gail?” she says with a laugh. “Same costume. Same attitude.”
Boyle is a fan. “I always liked Rosario and thought she was a fantastic actress, but she’s not playing big enough parts,” says the director. “That’s the trouble for a lot of actresses with a huge talent.”
Says Dawson, “It’s just difficult out there. There are only a handful of roles for women and a lot of incredibly talented women in this industry who are all vying for those scripts.”
That’s why she’s also a writer and producer. “I don’t like being at the mercy of someone else for my future,” says Dawson, who was a squatter living in an empty New York building before she was cast in 1995’s “Kids.”
“Now that I’m in this industry,” she says. “I want to earn my place.”
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