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INT: Kate Hudson

08.10.2005by: Thomas Leupp

This week, actress Kate Hudson returns to the big screen, taking on the supernatural thriller genre with THE SKELETON KEY. Since bursting onto the scene with her Oscar-nominated performance in ALMOST FAMOUS, the actress has played it relatively safe, opting mainly for lighthearted comedies like HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS and LE DIVORCE. Not so with THE SKELETON KEY. Set in modern day New Orleans (where approximately 20% of the population still actively practices Voodoo), the film delves deeply into a creepy world of magic and superstition, where rituals and spells are used to enlist the aid of those who dwell on the other side. It’s the scariest film Kate’s done since ALEX & EMMA.

The good people at Universal invited me down to New Orleans to talk with Kate about her experience making THE SKELETON KEY, opening everywhere this Friday.

Kate Hudson

With this project, were you consciously trying to break away from the “good girl” roles that you’ve become known for?

Not initially. I wasn’t looking for a thriller or something. I was definitely looking to work with…I wanted to work with interesting people. That’s always my hope and desire. But this came and I read it and I loved the script so much. It was actually one of those experiences where I was shooting Raising Helen when I read the script. I kind of picked it up. It was sent to me saying, “You have to read this and read it fast.” I said okay and I picked it up at a lunch break and skimmed the first page.

Before I knew it, I was done. I’d finished the script in probably 45 minutes and I thought to myself…I was shocked at the idea that it’s basically a four hander picture. There’s five people in the whole movie and it’s a character driven thriller that ends unexpectedly and boldly, and a Hollywood studio is going to actually make it. And I thought it was just so refreshing to me. So and then after the initial response to the script, I went, “I have never done a thriller and it will just be really fun for me to heave and pant and run and climb and break windows and scream every once in a while.” And also it lends itself to a lot of heavier work. The scene where I run into the house and I’m tied up, it was a lot of character work that was really fun for me to be able to do. It was a real change; it’s very different.

Your director, Iain Softley, said that this character more closely resembles your personality than others you’ve played.

I guess I approach all work no matter what type of movie or character the same way. Then there are just some times you have to reach into places that are a little less familiar on a day to day basis in certain characters and others. For this character, it was actually quite accessible to play her. (It was) very accessible to tap into my fears, very accessible to understand why somebody would move to a city because of music or because of a passion. And she’s strong minded and a little tough and I feel like she’s the kind of girl who’s okay being alone even though it might be a little lonely. She’s okay with that and I’m like that. So there’s a lot of things that I really could relate to.

It didn’t because I’ve always believed in spirits and supernatural and ghosts. I’ve always believed in that stuff.

There was always a camera broken which was really weird. And the cinematographer would just be like, “This is the weirdest.” We had three cameras and different ones usually wouldn’t work, pretty much every day.

The only time I felt any kind of vibe was when we were doing the spell scene with John (Hurt). I kind of felt a little bit, especially when we were doing the master shot, the whole scene. There was a moment when he finally said “Cut” it was kind like wow, that was weird. It felt like we were calling on some kind of weird energy. When you’re making a movie…if you ever see those documentaries on pornography and they’re just like, “Do you want me to stick my butt in the air?” It’s like professional and you go, “This is weird.” It’s a similar process. You’re really not paying attention.

Mirrors always kind of freak me out when it’s dark. I don’t like sleeping with a mirror in front of me. It’s a little weird. I can sleep with a mirror on the ceiling. That was just too funny. Now I’m just being silly.

I don't know if I find it difficult, but it is definitely a challenge. You have to be constantly conscious of it I think. It’s so easy to just when you have any time just to go right into your child. That’s your primary focus is baby every day, morning, noon and night. And then I don't know, it’s a constant guilty feeling when you do anything for yourself, when you do anything for your career, when you do anything for your husband, when you do anything with your girlfriends because it’s taking you away from time with your baby. But I just have to keep reiterating to myself that it’s important for me to make sure that my son knows that we all have lives and everybody’s lives are important and everybody’s individuality is important. Hopefully they’ll grow up like I did realizing that we’re never the center of anybody’s attention all the time or the center of the universe or all of that.

It’s just exhausting. You just go home and you’re just really tired. You do have moments where you have to have that release, whether it’s having to punch a bag, go do a boxing class or whether it’s just to cry. It’s not of any sadness. It’s just a release of pure exhaustion because women especially know when they’re mothers, even when they don’t have careers, they made the career of being a mom. Your energy, you’re always on. It’s the same thing as the first time I went away from Ryder was a week ago. I’m in Europe and I wake up in the morning, or I come home that night after having dinner with everybody and I’m having a drink and I came home and I’m like, “I’ve got to get to sleep. I have to wake up in the morning and I’ve got to get Ryder.” And I just went, “Ryder. Ryder’s not here.” And I had that first initial moment of saying wow, that’s always on your mind. So the only time you can really realize how exhausted you are is when you’re actually away from it.

I don’t know if what kind of movie or what kind of character, if being a mother will affect that. But what does affect it for me is time away absolutely, and location. But as I’ve said, I grew up with very, very work oriented parents and it was really admirable to know that my parents worked so hard. And at the same time, they were always present in our lives, they were always available to us at all times and yet they worked so hard. We got to really see them have their own life and strength. It was a really important lesson.

Are you inquisitive, like your character? Do you want to know what’s behind the secret door?

No. I wouldn’t even set foot probably in the attic stairwell. I probably would have seen that stairway and gone, “Hahaha, somebody else can do this because you can go get your own trillians or whatever.” But no, I’m kind of a nosey person. If I could look into nooks and crannies of people’s lives and find out more about them, just because I like to observe people and their weird secrets and tendencies. So if it opened some kind of little box, I’d probably snoop around in the box. But not something like a door in a dark room.

To work with people like Gena is one of those experiences where you basically say this is everything you ever want to be able to experience when you’re young and you're in the beginning phases of your career. And then you get to experience people like Gena who teach you so much about how…here’s a woman who’s delivered some of the most amazing performances of all time. And then to work with her and to see her availability and her generosity, I keep saying the same words but it is what it is. At the end of the day, the two actors who are just really enjoying some really fun scenes that we get to play with each other.

And for her to have this incredible career and to be doing it as long as she’s done this and then to still come to work and enjoy it is just amazing. And it just goes to show that when people really love what they do, it’s usually why they’re so talented is they really, really love it. And always discovering new things about themselves, new things about human behavior. So Gena was just a billboard for that for me. You work with a lot of people, some people who are very difficult and very self-oriented. I’m not like that, and then when you work with somebody like Gena who’s not like that, it made me say, “Yeah, you know, I think I’m doing okay.” I want to be like that because that to me is so honorable and respectable.

It’s always been important for me to do that. It’s funny because I guess from an outside perspective is very different from being in my perspective which is I’m 26. I really haven’t done very many films. Since Almost Famous, I’ve done five? Six? So I don’t feel like..I feel like my age, the roles…I don’t get to walk up to a big bin of amazingly dimensional fascinating characters. I get the young girl who’s starting out her life and is cute and perky and falls in love for the first time. And that’s great and some of them are really good and some of them are better than others. But for me, I kind of looked at it like that’s why I’ve taken three years off in my career so far. I don’t want to rush anything.

I don’t want to feel like I have to work all the time. I want to wait until I get to an age where I can play more dimensional roles and hopefully…I still feel young so I don’t feel like I’ve…making comedies are so much fun. Hands down, fun. You laugh. It takes a lot of energy and boy, you’re almost even more exhausted doing that than when you’re running through forests all day, because you have to be so energetic. But I feel like I’d be bored if I always did comedies and I feel like I’d be bored if I was always a dramatic actor. I just want to continually find things about the craft and find things about new characters, discover new things about myself and through them or in my life bring them to characters. It’s just the funnest business to be in. It’s the funnest job. When I get to wake up every day and I get to go on set, I have so much fun. It feels like man, how lucky is that? I just love it.

What’s next?

The next movie I’m doing is [with] Owen Wilson – You Me and Dupree. It’s me, Owen Wilson and Matt Dillon. It’s a real comedy. It’s not really a romantic comedy. It’s a comedy-comedy.

It kind of has a feeling of a Meet the Fockers type of comedy. It’s not about romance. The Russo brothers are directing it, the Arrested Development guys, so it’s got that kind of far out but at the same time totally accessible, like somebody everybody knows. You know that guy, and that’s Dupree. I’m kind of the one who’s stuck in the middle of everything and having to deal with him all the time.

That’s still in development. Yes, with Linda Obst. That’s more in the development, still being written.

Source: JoBlo.com

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