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

 

Arts & Entertainment
art

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

Arts & Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'
film

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film

Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'
TV

VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
art

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp
art

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day
film

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London
TV

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
Arts & Entertainment
Rory Kinnear in his Olivier-winning role as Iago in Othello

Oliviers 2014Actor beat Jude Law and Tom Hiddleston to take the award
Arts & Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is best known for this roles in Sherlock and Star Trek
TV

Arts & Entertainment
theatreAll hail the temporary venue that has shaken things up at the National Theatre
Arts & Entertainment
musicShe is candid, comic and coming our way
Arts & Entertainment
booksHer new novel is about people seeking where they belong
Arts & Entertainment
TV
Arts & Entertainment
tvGrace Dent on The Crimson Field
Arts & Entertainment
Gian Sammarco plays Adrian Mole in 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole'
books

Sue Townsend's much-loved character will live on
Arts & Entertainment
Kylie has helped to boost viewing figures for the talent show
TV

Kylie Minogue quits The Voice UK

Arts & Entertainment
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Favour Asikpa and Thandie Newton in 'Half of a Yellow Sun'
film

Review: Half of A Yellow Sun

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 iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
    Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

    Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

    Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
    Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

    Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

    The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
    Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

    Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

    The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
    Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

    Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

    This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
    10 best smartphones

    10 best smartphones

    With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
    Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

    Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
    The pain of IVF

    The pain of IVF

    As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
    Supersize art

    Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

    The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
    James Dean: Back on the big screen

    James Dean: Back on the big screen

    As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
    Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

    How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

    More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
    10 best activity books for children

    10 best activity books for children

    Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books