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At this past Sun­dance, Rose McGowan wowed au­di­ences with “Dawn,” a short film about a young, over­pro­tected girl (Tara Lynn Barr) in 1961 who sneaks off with a pos­si­bly dan­ger­ous boy. And she’s hardly done. The ac­tress of “Scream,” “The Doom Gen­er­a­tion” and “Charmed” is still act­ing; as of now, she has five gigs lined up. But she says she feels more at home di­rect­ing, in­clud­ing the fea­ture “The Pines,” now in pre­pro­duc­tion. You can watch “Dawn” on her YouTube chan­nel.

You still have act­ing jobs com­ing up, but do you feel you have less pas­sion for act­ing, es­pe­cially now that you’re di­rect­ing?

The thing is, I never did. I just hap­pened to be good at it. I would get to sets and think, “What hap­pened? I’m in the wrong world.” It’s like when you read a book and then you see how it’s been made on the screen, and it’s com­pletely odd to you be­cause that’s not at all how you saw it. That’s how al­most ev­ery ex­pe­ri­ence is like to me. I have a very ac­tive brain that needs con­stant data and emo­tion. And I was dy­ing.

Short films haven’t al­ways been easy to mar­ket, but right now, with stream­ing ser­vices, it’s eas­ier than ever to get shorts seen.

To be hon­est, when we did it, it didn’t oc­cur to me that any­body would see it. I just had to do it. It just didn’t oc­cur to me. I do that with the things I’ve acted in; it doesn’t oc­cur to me for me to even go see them. They’re just things I did one time and let’s move on. But this is ac­tu­ally my voice. It’s nice to be heard.

Have you been the type of ac­tor who bugs di­rec­tors to see how they did it?

No, I watched. I didn’t learn from them what to do; I learned what not to do. The di­rec­tors I liked and re­spected, they had their own thing. I’m not go­ing to copy it. That’s silly. On days I wasn’t act­ing, I would work with the gaf­fers, I would work with the art depart­ment. I did the pro­duc­tion de­sign on “Dawn.” I have a film ed­u­ca­tion that is sec­ond to none. I’ve spent over 57,000 hours on set. You can’t re­ally f— with me.

Some­one told you they threw up af­ter watch­ing “Dawn.” Was it the in­ten­sity of the end­ing?

It also af­fects women who were in that era greatly. There was a woman who saw it, and she called me, cry­ing, be­cause that was her life. It’s what we do to girls and women with­out even re­al­iz­ing it — these tiny things we say. You open a mag­a­zine and it says “How to Be on a Date,” and it’s by a lit­tle guy in a closet giv­ing you ad­vice. And it f—s you up. We’re send­ing girls into the world, still, largely un­pro­tected and in ways meant to sub­vert their own sur­vival in­stinct. So what hap­pens when you’re a lamb with your hands tied and you meet a wolf? What hap­pens?


Tara Lynne Barr plays a young teen in Rose McGowan’s short “Dawn,” which you can watch on YouTube.



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