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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. Itís the scariest film Kateís 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 ďgood girlĒ roles that youíve become known for?

Not initially. I wasnít looking for a thriller or something. I was definitely looking to work withÖI wanted to work with interesting people. Thatís 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, ďYou have to read this and read it fast.Ē I said okay and I picked it up at a lunch break and skimmed the first page.

Before I knew it, I was done. Iíd finished the script in probably 45 minutes and I thought to myselfÖI was shocked at the idea that itís basically a four hander picture. Thereís five people in the whole movie and itís 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, ďI 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.Ē And also it lends itself to a lot of heavier work. The scene where I run into the house and Iím 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; itís very different.

Your director, Iain Softley, said that this character more closely resembles your personality than others youíve 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 sheís strong minded and a little tough and I feel like sheís the kind of girl whoís okay being alone even though it might be a little lonely. Sheís okay with that and Iím like that. So thereís a lot of things that I really could relate to.

Has this film changed your view of the supernatural?

It didnít because Iíve always believed in spirits and supernatural and ghosts. Iíve always believed in that stuff.

Do you have a red line of brick dust (a Hoodoo custom) in your house?

No, but I go through phases. I used to have dreamcatchers and I carried around crystals. I light candles and I visualize things for protection.

So the day the cameras broke, what did you think was going on?

There was always a camera broken which was really weird. And the cinematographer would just be like, ďThis is the weirdest.Ē We had three cameras and different ones usually wouldnít work, pretty much every day.

Did you feel any strange vibes while shooting?

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 ďCutĒ it was kind like wow, that was weird. It felt like we were calling on some kind of weird energy. When youíre making a movieÖif you ever see those documentaries on pornography and theyíre just like, ďDo you want me to stick my butt in the air?Ē Itís like professional and you go, ďThis is weird.Ē Itís a similar process. Youíre really not paying attention.

Do mirrors freak you out now?

Mirrors always kind of freak me out when itís dark. I donít like sleeping with a mirror in front of me. Itís a little weird. I can sleep with a mirror on the ceiling. That was just too funny. Now Iím just being silly.

Do you find it difficult being a working mom now?

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. Itís so easy to just when you have any time just to go right into your child. Thatís your primary focus is baby every day, morning, noon and night. And then I don't know, itís 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 itís taking you away from time with your baby. But I just have to keep reiterating to myself that itís important for me to make sure that my son knows that we all have lives and everybodyís lives are important and everybodyís individuality is important. Hopefully theyíll grow up like I did realizing that weíre never the center of anybodyís attention all the time or the center of the universe or all of that.

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

Do you make career choices now as a mother?

I donít 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 Iíve 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 whatís behind the secret door?

No. I wouldnít even set foot probably in the attic stairwell. I probably would have seen that stairway and gone, ďHahaha, somebody else can do this because you can go get your own trillians or whatever.Ē But no, Iím kind of a nosey person. If I could look into nooks and crannies of peopleís 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, Iíd probably snoop around in the box. But not something like a door in a dark room.

What was it like working with Gena Rowlands?

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 youíre 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 howÖhereís a woman whoís 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 sheís 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, itís usually why theyíre 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. Iím not like that, and then when you work with somebody like Gena whoís not like that, it made me say, ďYeah, you know, I think Iím doing okay.Ē I want to be like that because that to me is so honorable and respectable.

How important is it for you to mix and match genres?

Itís always been important for me to do that. Itís funny because I guess from an outside perspective is very different from being in my perspective which is Iím 26. I really havenít done very many films. Since Almost Famous, Iíve done five? Six? So I donít feel like..I feel like my age, the rolesÖI donít get to walk up to a big bin of amazingly dimensional fascinating characters. I get the young girl whoís starting out her life and is cute and perky and falls in love for the first time. And thatís 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 thatís why Iíve taken three years off in my career so far. I donít want to rush anything.

I donít 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 hopefullyÖI still feel young so I donít feel like IíveÖmaking comedies are so much fun. Hands down, fun. You laugh. It takes a lot of energy and boy, youíre almost even more exhausted doing that than when youíre running through forests all day, because you have to be so energetic. But I feel like Iíd be bored if I always did comedies and I feel like Iíd 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. Itís just the funnest business to be in. Itís 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.

Whatís next?

The next movie Iím doing is [with] Owen Wilson Ė You Me and Dupree. Itís me, Owen Wilson and Matt Dillon. Itís a real comedy. Itís not really a romantic comedy. Itís a comedy-comedy.

It kind of has a feeling of a Meet the Fockers type of comedy. Itís not about romance. The Russo brothers are directing it, the Arrested Development guys, so itís got that kind of far out but at the same time totally accessible, like somebody everybody knows. You know that guy, and thatís Dupree. Iím kind of the one whoís stuck in the middle of everything and having to deal with him all the time. Every character has a bunch of quirks and is really funny. It was a rare comedy for me to read actually.

Are you doing Can You Keep a Secret?

Thatís still in development. Yes, with Linda Obst. Thatís more in the development, still being written.

Source: JoBlo.com

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