The thriller inside me: Kate Hudson changes gear in The Reluctant Fundamentalist

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Kate Hudson loses her blonde locks for a part in the tense terrorism drama The Reluctant Fundamentalist. The romcom star tells Kaleem Aftab why she couldn't resist the role

Kate Hudson, object of affection in romcoms, daughter of Goldie Hawn, and rock-star wife; personas that don't suggest an appearance in the movie adaptation of Mohsin Hamid's post 9/11 novel The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

The 34-year-old landed the role at a dinner with director Mira Nair, who won the Venice Golden Lion for her 2001 nuptial drama Monsoon Wedding. Nair cooked while Hudson convinced her that she'd be perfect for the part of Erica, a grief-stricken visual artist and sometime girlfriend of terrorist suspect Changez, played by Four Lions star Riz Ahmed. It's the only role in the mystery thriller where knowing How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and being a part of Bride Wars is of value, albeit limited.

There is a bit of form for Hudson playing dramatic roles. In 2010 she and Jessica Alba were the surprise casting in Michael Winterbottom's violent adaptation of Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me, with Hudson playing the suspicious girlfriend of a violent sheriff. She also rather surprisingly received a best supporting actress Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe award for her turn as groupie Penny Lane in Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous in 2001.

“I think I've been going against stereotype throughout my career,” Hudson points out. “I don't want anyone to feel that I'm going against anything – I mean I love my comedies and the fans of those comedies – and I feel when I'm making funny films, I feel incredibly alive and that they are just as challenging as a lot of the dramatic work that I've done. I find comedies more exhausting sometimes than crying all day.”

If something has changed her attitude to life and work it's being the mother of two boys, Ryder, from her first marriage to The Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson and Bingham, with Muse frontman Mathew Bellamy, her fiancé: “I think my focus right now – because I'm a mum of two– is concentrating more on directors and the experience of working with directors creatively. Taking the time away from the children and making a film is very hard on the family. And so, it doesn't mean that I put it completely aside, but it does make the decision- making process much, much more sensitive, and deliberate, in terms of what I really like to be doing.”

There was almost a hiccup in the run-up to The Reluctant Fundamentalist when Kate got pregnant just before the film went into production forcing her to abandon the project. However, a last-minute shooting delay enabled the genial star to take on the role again. On set she juggled her responsibilities to director and baby.

“I did the film because I really wanted to work with Mira,” she explains. “It's such a vulnerable time after you have had a baby, you are in this vulnerable hormonal place, but with Mira I felt protected. I was breastfeeding on set every two and a half hours. I would say, 'I have to go now, I have to breastfeed.' 'OK, everybody stop, Kate has got to breastfeed.'”

Motherhood has been more manageable the second time around. “It's definitely easier. And then balancing the two, I mean Ryder is nine and he just wants to be active and doing things all the time, sleepovers and this and that. Then Bing, who is still in nurturing attachment mode, it's definitely a little crazy around the house.”

While choosing her roles more carefully in recent years, she states that she couldn't resist the lure of playing the vindictive, alcoholic dance teacher Cassandra July in Glee: “I started doing Glee because to sing and dance is like a dream.”

Growing up in Los Angeles, she was surrounded by actors living in the public eye. Her dad is actor Bill Hudson and Escape from New York star Kurt Russell has been together with her mother Goldie Hawn since 1983. “I think the trick is not to take your work home and the older you get the more I think you struggle with that,” she says. “I was lucky, because I was raised by creative parents and artists, actors who really focused on that balance, saying 'we leave our work at work, and when we're home we are concentrated on the family'. So that it never seeped into our home life. Because it can be real heavy and complicated and self involved.”

Talking about love and family comes easy to Hudson. It's the major focus of most of her characters. The typical Hudson plot is how to recognise the right guy and make the romance work. Luckily, it's a topic she's fascinated by: “I think relationships are the only place that we enter our own real world. The more intimate we become, the more we reflect on each other, the more we realise our own shortcomings and how we affect other people. But I believe that because I've been in a lot of therapy and I'm really, really fascinated with the psychology of relationships.

She cites the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman as hot on her reading list, “It's a little heady, but I'm really fascinated with how the brain functions, it's what my mum's foundation is based on. I mean, it's the most powerful muscle that we have and it's the one that needs to evolve, to really evolve on a cellular level. The more we discover about it, the more we realize that it's everything that has to do with how we relate to one another. And that we actually do have control of that, and that's all we have control of. I love it. It excites me.”

Yet for all her ability to wax lyrical about brains, red carpets (“I see that as a celebration of the film”) and having to dye her hair black (“It made me look like my grandmother, on my mum's side”) she is far less comfortable when chatting about the topic that's at the heart of The Reluctant Fundamentalist – was the American response to 9/11 proportionate and reasonable? “How do I feel about America's reaction?” she repeats. “That's a complex question. America's reaction is… I don't even know what that means. I mean everybody, I think globally, it was shocking, devastating.”

The jumbled response comes from a hesitancy to answer. She quickly adds, “I'm not a super- political person. Like I said, I'm more interested in the brain and how we connect, I can't speak generally on anything like that, I can only speak from my experience and those around me.”

And now she's making films that ask the audience to use their brain too.

'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' is out on 10 May

*This article appears in tomorrow's print edition of Radar Magazine

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce performs in front of a Feminist sign at the MTV VMAs 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has taken home the prize for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Paige and Scott Lowell in Queer as Folk (Season 5)
tvA batch of shows that 'wouldn't get past a US network' could give tofu sales an unexpected lift
Arts and Entertainment
books... but seller will be hoping for more
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone