Screen star Gabrielle Union drew on traumatic memories of her rape to develop her sexually abused character in new movie NEO NED.

The sexy actress was compelled to sign up for the film - in which Union's character pretends to be Adolf Hitler in an effort to block out her troubled past - after realising the brutal sex attack she suffered at 19 left her with a similar desire to change her identity.

She says, "I had to draw upon it. I understood how far the mind can go to protect you from reality. I thought about the points where I felt the most out of control of myself, and when I didn't want anybody to be around me. It was hard."

Neo Ned director VAN FISCHER adds, "Gabrielle is tough but has this other side that connects to the slightly wounded and sensitive."

Union, now 32, was raped by an intruder robbing the shoe store she worked at in California.

26/04/2005 17:30