Vanessa Hudgens gyrates around a stripper pole at a seedy club in gritty new movie
It’s her most gritty role to date, and one that comes with the burden of portraying a real live person.
Though Cindy Paulson, the prostitute that Vanessa Hudgens plays in December’s The Frozen Ground, very nearly lost her life to Alaska’s most notorious serial killer, Robert Hansen.
Gritty role: Vanessa Hudgens takes on the real-life role of Cindy Paulson, a stripper who had escaped the clutches of serial killer Robert Hansen, in The Frozen Ground
She escaped, and her first-rate witness testimony eventually led to the ‘butcher baker’s’ capture after a killing spree that saw him take the lives of 17 to 21 young girls.
And now former Disney star Hudgens is bringing her harrowing tale of suffering and bravery to the big screen alongside John Cusack as the notorious killer and Nicolas Cage as Detective Glenn Flothe, the man who finally took the young woman’s statement seriously.
Paulson was just 17 years old when she escaped from Hansen while he was trying to load her into his Piper Super Cub plane in June 1983, she’d been working as a prostitute when he picked her up.
Shocking: Disney fans may want to check their expectations of their former poster girl at the door
As you’ve never seen her before: Hudgens made her name in the sweet and innocent High School Musical, but this film’s subject couldn’t be darker
Whipped into shape: Hudgens has been hitting her Studio City gym ahead of this role, her biggest and most challenging to date
Gyrating: Hudgens gets raunchy in the trailer, but the film will call on her acting reserves as she must capture a killer
After being held captive and assaulted in his home, she managed to escape as he tried to take her to his meat shack, which was just accessible by plane or boat.
After she got away, Cindy gave a detailed description to police but Hansen, who seemed to them to be a mild-mannered baker, managed to persuade them she was lying despite him having a checkered past.
It was only when Detective Flothe called in a criminal psychologist who described Hansen down to his stutter and his hunting prowess that she was taken seriously.
Escape: Hudgens character was the only girl to get away from evil Hansen, and her methodical recollection of detail led to his capture
Sultry: The sexy scene belies the horrifying story
Career making: Hudgens is heading in a new direction, and looks like she’ll hold her own against acting greats Cusack and Cage
Grim: The film’s subject matter is not for the faint-hearted
Hudgens has been putting in some graft ahead of filming in Alaska, not least at the gym where she’s been honing her body to film these pole dance scenes.
But it’ll be the former High School Musical star’s emotional range and ability to embody this complex character that will be judged in her biggest role yet.
From the trailer it appears that she holds her own against Cusack and Cage, no mean feat.
The movie, expected to open nationwide on December 1, follows Flothe and Paulson’s quest to bring the mass murderer to justice, while risking their own safety.
Radha Mitchell, 50 Cent and Dean Norris also star.