WHEN ABOUT ADAM'S CAST CAME TO NEW YORK, ACTRESS KATE HUDSON SPOKE HER MIND ABOUT THIS FILM AND HER ON-GOING SUCCESS. TEXT BY BRAD BALFOUR, PHOTOS BY ROGER WONG
Sweet-faced, blonde-tressed Kate Hudson filmed About Adam in Ireland with director Gerry Stembridge prior to the creation of the film Almost Famous-which led to her Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Though she didn't win that award--a split decision led to the award going to Marsha Gaye Harden (for Pollock)--she has been awarded good reviews for her work in this film which has her cast as an Irish ingenue. Hudson found herself living for a short time in Dublin, hanging out in Temple Bar pubs. She was able to pick up a reasonable facsimile of a local accent in order to pull off the role of Lucy; the waitress/torch singer and youngest daughter of an upscale Irish family.
Into the hip cabaret where Lucy sings comes Adam (Stuart Townshend--who will play the Vampire Lestat), a seemingly unassuming, almost shy, stranger. But there's more than meets the eye when it's revealed who Adam really is. As Adam infiltrates her family--which culminates in her proposal of marriage to him while performing a singing gig at the Temple Bar restaurant where she also waitresses (he says "I will")--he enters into affairs with both her sisters; the bookish Laura (Australian actress Frances O'Connor) and sophisticated Alice (Charlotte Bradley), flirts with her brother (Alan Maher) and let's not forget widowed Mom (Rosealeen Linehan)!
The layers of normalcy are stripped away from this upper middle class Irish family and the underlying reality shows there is more than meets the eye to the personal dynamics. Stembridge transforms this seemingly light romance film for women into something much more--a dark comedy and subversive critique of Irish social norms. Employing narrative elements from French nouvelle vague films and British black comedies, Stembridge gets great performances out of his cast--especially with Townshend and Bradley. Adam is almost a mythic figure, the devilish persona who seems to wreak havoc, yet has a positive, virtually liberating effect on all the characters. Of all the sisters, Lucy will learn the most from Adam because he will allow her to be herself, whether they marry or not. At the end, as he proclaims, they can have their secrets, secrets that the audiencel knows will keep them both fresh and alive in the marriage.
The film is a bit of a fable, a fantasy of the modern world. Says Townshend of his character, "Adam's appeal is just that he somehow manages to be whatever they want him to be. And I have to capture that." Townshend's appeal is subtle; he successfully plays this character off of each of the female actresses so brilliantly. Much of the film rests of his shoulders and through his performance, he brings out the best in the actresses he's working with. "It is the whole play on perspectives. You never see Adam's point of view. You only see him as the others experience him." And the capper of this story-telling concept is when Adam even toys with the brother. "I read the script, and when I got to the' brother scene, I was crying with laughter."
In playing the coquettish Lucy, Hudson not only appropriated the newly-established middle class manner of the nouveau-riche Dubliners but she also had to comprehend how to illustrate a young Irish woman's behavior from what it had been to what it possibly would be like in the freshly-minted cosmopolitan scene of modern Dublin.
Recently Hudson--with Townshend and O'Connor as well--came to New York to publicize this film, due for release this May. Wearing a translucent skirt, slip and luminous silk top, Hudson breezes into the Bryant Park Hotel's restaurant party room where this interviewer awaits. A perfect mix of her mother Goldie Hawn's hippie-ditzy charm and post-'70s twenty-something worldliness; this 22-year old actress has an accessibility that many other young sirens lack. In fact, it seems she's out to do anything to break down the mystique so quickly erected around a young star. She is easy to talk with, animated in her responses and is fairly forthcoming. After this meeting, as all were heading towards the elevator, Hudson continues to name her musical favorites and discusses other subjects up to the moment when she steps out onto the floor of her room.
Accolades have been heaped on her already--the ultimate being her academy award nomination. This young actress is being hailed as a fresh talent with real acting skills rather than just another pretty face. Real life has taken her film role of "Band Aid" Penny Lane to its fairy-tale ending of becoming the wife of a big-time rock star (with her recent marriage to Black Crowes lead singer Chris Robinson on New Year's Eve, 2000).
Born on April 19, 1979 to Hawn and singer/ TV personality Bill Hudson, Rate was raised in Hollywood with actor Kurt Russell as stepdad. Although her parents didn't encourage her to follow in their footsteps, her film career began in 1998 with her role in 200 Cigarettes.
Her next role has her starring opposite fellow up-and-comers Wes Bentley and Heath Ledger in the remake of The Four Feathers which promises to be yet another powerful dramatic turn for Rate. With her easy style and open manner, Hudson even spoke of more than this--her latest film. --Brad Balfour
DOES ABOUT ADAM SEEM TO BE FROM A LONG TIME AGO WITH EVERYTHING THAT'S HAPPENED TO YOU SINCE!
It was two years ago... that is a long time ago. It was one of the greatest experiences that I've ever had. It was my first time working overseas; I had only been to Europe or the U.K. area once before by myself. I was ecstatic and so excited because it was such an adventure for me. First , the flight from L.A. to London and then to Dublin. When I landed in Dublin I was like, "Oh wow, this is incredible." To top it all off, Ireland is one of the best countries that I've ever been to.
DID YOU TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF DUBLIN!,br> Unfortunately I was only able to travel in and around Dublin. People say that it gets even better beyond those parts. I had the greatest time, the people are amazing; they're just the greatest people with no BS, they don't care who you are, what you do or anything like that. They're just truly honest and genuine human beings and those are my kinds of people. So, I greatly enjoyed it.
WHAT WERE YOUR EXPECTATIONS IN MAKING THIS FILM!
Oh God, I was having the best time. I think that every movie, no matter what the outcome is...I mean, that's one thing I must say that I did learn from my parents. That it's not the outcome or the big hoopla; it's the experience that you have in your life that counts when you're on your deathbed. When you're dying and going to the next place you look at all the fun that you had with people and the experiences that you had. This film was such a blast I will probably do more. Hopefully the smaller, independent movies will continue to have me. I believe it's all about work.
DID YOU LEARN SOMETHING FROM THIS THAT YOU DIDN'T LEARN FROM THE HOLLYWOOD PROCESS!
You know, it's all so different. Of course I learned how to speak in an Irish accent, but I'm always learning from everything. I think the only way you can become an even better actor is to truly open yourself up to people. A lot of actors I see don't open themselves up to peopL. My greatest form of study is human behavior. I love people and I love talking to people, so everything that I do, every movie, is all a part of the whole experience.
DO YOU FEEL ANY PRESSURE REGARDING THE SUCCESS OF THIS FILM, BECAUSE OF THE ATTENTION YOU'VE GOTTEN!
No, you can't.. God, if I felt all the pressures that people want you to feel... that's when you become bitter and you don't have any fun or you take yourself too seriously. So, no, not at all. I'm a part of a great cast in this movie, people who are really talented. I mean, look at them, look at their careers, they're doing awesome and that's amazing to me. When Frances [O'Connor] is hopefully one day nominated for an Oscar, I can say, 'I worked with her, she's great.' It's all awesome.
HOW DID IT FEEL TO PLAY A CHARACTER SO AFRAID OF LOVE AND COMMITMENT SINCE YOU WERE GETTING MARRIED!
Oh, I was single, having a lot of fun and not wanting to be that committed. I didn't look for it. But I hadn't met Chris yet. .T never wanted to find a man. I was never like the kind of person who would be like,"'I need to find a man, a boyfriend." I was always just a sort of free-spirited girl who enjoyed going out on dates so I did relate to that character.
DID YOU EVER ASK GUYS OUT!
You know, I'm actually quite conservative as far as that's concerned. Like, I've said, "Hey, would you like to go do something?" but I'm not a very forward person like she is, not at all. I was also very... as far as sexuality is concerned, I've always been very careful of who I allowed myself to be intimate with, because it's something I find to be sacred and special. So, I just had fun, and I also enjoyed my girlfriends immensely. I was always going out with my girlfriends and I still do.
CHRIS [ROBINSON] HAS IRISH ROOTS, DOESN'T HE!
[laughs] Probably, by the way that he used to drink, I'm sure... Yet, he's very Angle. He's got a lot of Angle in him, but I don't know exactly what kind. I think that it's English, but there could be some Irish. Maybe it's English and Scottish, but he's also a Polish Jew which comes out all the time.
YOU HAVEYOUR JEWISH SIDE.
Oh, I got my Jew [laughing].
THE JEWS AND THE IRISH GET ALONG VERY WELL.,br>
Oh yeah, I'm sure. I think that I might have some...I don't know. I'm Hungarian, Jewish and Italian. So, maybe I don't have any. I might have some English.
YOU ACTUALLY DID THE SINGING IN THIS ROLE--IS BEING A SINGER AT YOUR CORE!
That's really interesting, I just had this conversation with a friend of mine about how we feel like we're frustrated musicians. My dad is a musician, my grandfather is a musician on my mother's side, my mother is an fantastic singer; I come from an amazingly musical family. So, there is a part of me that does feel like a frustrated musician, and so, when I was singing this music, it made me frustrated because I wasn't singing what I wanted to be singing. It was like,'Oh, I'm in a studio, I should be singing my own stuff instead of being cheeky Lucy singing some Broadway or Frank Sinatra song,' It was such a blast though, just to be able to do it in a movie was fun.
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO YOU LIKE TO SING!
What I enjoy singing the most is...I would consider it sort of like, not folksy, but country-based blues. I'm a real big fan of people like Neil Young and Bob Dylan. By folk I mean, like, Joan Baez. She's got an incredible voice but it drives me nuts.
HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT HAVING CHRIS PRODUCE YOU!
[Laughs] No. I actually wouldn't be surprised if I did a few songs for fun but I don't want to do an album because it doesn't mean anything anymore. It's really weird, music isn't in a place that means a lot right now, and that I don't want to be a part of it is kind of sad. I wouldn't want to be involved.
IS THERE ANY CONTEMPORARY MUSIC THAT YOU DO LIKE!
I just bought Cold Play, I'm really into them. I must say that how I feel about music today is.., they did it and they're doing it and whatever. Good for you, fine, go do it, but I don't personally respond to it. That doesn't mean that someone else doesn't respond and that doesn't make them bad people because I don't like their music. Ijust think that there is nothing out there that's sincere. Sincerity is such a huge part of anything that's artistic or of an artistic product. Do you know what I mean? It's so important. I watch Chris and his band and everything that they do is sincere, everything... I think,'no wonder you guys have such problems with people who aren't'... It's because they don't give a shit about what people think because it's their music and it will always be theirs and that's all that matters. That's admirable to me. All the stuff that's going on now with people not writing their own music and everything being so consumer-driven and all, it just doesn't interest me. I love music. Music is such an important part of our culture, and right now it's in such a bad place.
WHERE YOU A FAN OF THE BLACK CROWES BEFORE YOU MET CHRIS!
[Laughs] I was, yeah, and there's not too many left...they're like the last rock and roll band. They're going out on the road with Oasis.
OH YES,THE'BROTHERLY LOVE TOUR'
[Laughs] Yeah, it's really cool. They're brothers that hate each other in the kind of rock and roll bands that don't exist much anymore. Even Cold Play who I am really digging right now; they're not rock and roll music. Yes, I totally dig their music.
DID YOU ENJOY MEETING JIMMY PAGE!
I really did enjoy meeting Jimmy Page, I really did enjoy that, he was really cool; it was weird because I hadn't finished filming Almost Famous yet. I had Jimmy Page all over my trailer and knew everything about him and all the girls that he was with. I remember watching him, and I remember the first day that I was in Chicago with the tour. I was nervous because I was going on the road with the man that I wanted to many which is so bizarre. I was standing on the side of the stage going,'Oh my god, what is going on, that is Jimmy Page. That is the man that I was pretending to look at for six months...weird, totally wild.
DID YOU USE ANYONE ELSE AS REFERENCE -- DID YOU READ THE BOOK I'M WITH THE BAND!
I did buy Pamela Des Barres's book which, actually, my mother is reading right now because she's playing a groupie in her next movie. She's doing a movie called The Banger Sisters where the groupies are older. So I gave her a few books to read, and it's fun. I'm giving my mom some tips on where to go, "Look online, mom and check out all the hair stuff' [laughs]. Yeah, I also read Grace Slick's autobiography, Someone To Love. There was a magazine called Star Magazine which was really cool. It was an old groupie magazine and it was just hysterical. They would have pictures of these groupies; some weren't very pretty at all and they had these like frizzy, big hairstyles. There would be a quote like,'to get my knarly-do..." Knarly?--you just go, "Alright man, that's really great," and this was a magazine; not like today's are any better...
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME AN ACTRESS AND WHEN WAS THAT!
I think my parents knew before I did that I was always performing and Ijust loved it. There was never a question--that's what I wanted to do. I don't ever remember making that decision, but I remember stating it to my family when I was eleven. I went to my mother and told her, "I want to act." They said "Oh, we knew this was coming." My mom wanted to sort of feed that desire which I think every parent should. I did tons of stuff. I went to a theater company, I was ten when I started and I did that for a little bit. [Laughs] I could never stand theater companies. It was always like, "God, why are you so actor-y, why are you so self important?" Ijust acted and loved it. Ijust wanted to do it. My first audition was actually an audition for a movie that my dad did, Escape From L.A.
AT WHAT POINT DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WERE GOING TO BE THE ALMOST FAMOUS POSTER GIRL!
My mother found out before I did and she called me, freaking out, and I said,'would you tell me what is it?' She said,'did you know that it's your face, poster face?' I was like,'what?' She said, "You are the poster of the face" and I said, "You mean, my face is on the poster?" And she said, "Yeah, it's just you!" I go, "Are you serious?" I mean, it was real exciting because it's Cameron Crowe, and to me, I was going, "It's Cameron Crowe, what an amazing man, and I can't believe that he did that."