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Rosario Dawson knows a thing or two about living in desolation. While discussing her dystopian drama DMZ on Deadline’s Contenders TV event Sunday, the actress talked about her Coney Island roots and how her environment was very similar to the world HBO Max built for the limited series.
“I grew up on the Lower Eastside, born in Coney Island and grew up in an abandoned building,” said Dawson, who was joined onstage by director/executive producer Ernest Dickerson. “That neighborhood was, like, bombed. As a community, we knew no one would come to our rescue. We had to work together to create a community.”
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Based on the DC Comics title of the same name, DMZ is in an apocalyptic drama set during the second civil war. Dawson plays Alma Ortega, a medic who travels through Manhattan Island’s demilitarized zone and becomes a symbol of hope for those cut off from the rest of the world. Ava DuVernay also directed and executive produced the project.
†[This is about] the people who will be left behind when the bridges and tunnels are cut,” says Dawson. “They are tenacious and resilient. Everyone does heroic things. Communication is key to this whole show. If you communicate, you can build broken bridges.”
DMZ couldn’t be more current, Dickerson points out. “It’s scary, but there are a lot of people who are trying to force us into a second civil war. Everyone should vote in the next election. All politics is local, and speculative fiction is always good for that. It shows us the dangers we face and if we are smart enough, find ways to avoid them.”
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