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May 2004
Raising Helen: An Interview with Kate Hudson

By Wilson Morales

Raising Helen: An Interview with Kate Hudson

Being the daughter of Goldie Hawn and growing up with Hollywood stars around her has certainly given some advantages but Kate Hudson done well on her own with breakout performances one after the other. Having been in a box office hit with "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" last year, Kate has now entered the leading lady status in Hollywood. Most recently she gave birth to her first child with husband Chris Robinson, and now she's ready to come back on the big screen in "Raising Helen", in which she plays a free spirited woman who now has custody of her dead sister's children. While in New York to promote the film as it was shown at The 2004 Tribeca Film Festival, Kate talked about being a new mom and the weight issue the tabloids are talking about.

Now that you're a mother can you relate to your character's new found responsibility in caring for her nieces and nephew?

KH: I always wanted to be a mom you know. When I read the script it was obviously something that hit home for me. And it was at a time where I was thinking about having kids so it kind of fit in perfectly to my mind set at the time. I did have moments in the midst of the three kids all talking to me at once and I just went, 'is this what it's gonna be like. All of a sudden, there is all this craziness.' I've seen this movie about a hundred times now and I just saw it again for the first time since I had the baby. I'm so happy that I wasn't a mom when I made the movie because I would've played it very differently. It was so much more emotional for me as a mother than it was when I saw it when I was pregnant.

Has motherhood lived up to your expectations so far?

KH: It's incredible, and then some. It's overwhelmingly beautiful. Nobody ever tells you how hard it's going to be. It's like everybody keeps all the hard stuff away from you. It's amazing. I think the hardest part for me was going from being the kind of person that I was to having the baby, to the overwhelming sensation of love that you never knew you had the capability of feeling, and then realizing that your life shouldn't change. You integrate your kids into your life. All of a sudden you have these feelings like I have to be perfect and I'm a mother now and I have to breast feed the right way or people are going to think I'm weird. All we (Chris Robinson, her husband) can show them is what we are and be honest with them about who we are and give them as much love as one being can possibly give.

Was child birth what you had expected it to be?

KH: I'm speechless. I was going in to get induced because the baby was so big. My hips weren't opening. I wasn't dilating and I was actually in labor, about two to five minutes apart. I couldn't feel anything in labor. I felt my stomach really tight but no pain. The doctor said I would either have a really long labor and a possible C section. It was such a pain in the ass to get in the hospital because we were being stalked by people and so we went in at midnight. I did not want to go home and decided to have a C section and make it happy. I got drugged up! I couldn't do anything for six and a half weeks.

That must've been a nightmare having the paparazzi camped outside the hospital.

KH: Absolutely. It's just sad that that part of your life can't be yours especially when you're so open. I have nothing to hide; I'm available to discuss anything. Having guys dressed up in scrubs to get into the hospital is sad. It was very hurtful, and even my parents didn't experience it (the paparazzi) when they first got together and it was a big deal; it was never like that. I guess it's the nature of the importance of celebrity today. I think it's pretty bad for everybody now. I think they're becoming an industry on their own. They have their teams and they follow people and go to certain neighborhoods. In Los Angeles, four to five cars follow you every day everywhere you go. Is it really that interesting?

Have the paparazzi down graded the art of acting to a certain extent?

KH: Somebody can become a celebrity for being stupid. That is what it's turned into. It just makes you think about what you do more. It makes you think about the importance of what you do. I better love what I do or else I'm the kind of person who would say, 'I'm out of here.'

Did you get any advice on motherhood while you were pregnant?

KH: Being pregnant I got so much advice I just started tuning it out. If one more person told me what I had to do when the baby comes, I was going to shoot 'em. As a parent I have such great parents and they're my role models as a parent. I was lucky enough to watch them raise Wyatt. I can only hope that when Ryder and the next kids come they like me as much as I like my mom. I learned from my parents. They're my biggest support system right now.

How do Kurt and Goldie like being called Grandpa and Grandma?

KH: She is very happy to take on that role. Actually I call her by her nickname Go Go and Kurt's nickname is Go Gi. It kind of works out perfectly Go Go and Go Gi. They didn't show me any trepidation (about becoming grandparents). They were just so thrilled. I do remember being rolled out of the surgery room right after I had him and I looked up at my Pa (Kurt Russell) and I said, 'did you meet Ryder Russell?,' because it was the first time he heard his name and that was a great moment for me and for him.

Why did you decide to name him Ryder?

KH: I was on the road with my husband Chris (Robinson, former frontman of the Black Crowes) my third trimester (and my doctor was wondering if I was coming home). I was eight months pregnant and every night he ended his show with a song called Ryder. Ryder would go insane in my stomach every time and it had to be the base line. It's kind of a funk song. I made a joke and said, 'wouldn't it be funny if we called him Ride.' We're Dead (Grateful Dead) fans and I Know You Rider is one of our favorite songs. I just went, 'Ryder,' that sounds great and it feels like him. He was so active in my stomach. He never stopped moving. It kind of fit perfectly.

Where will the two of you raise Ryder?

KH: I'd probably much rather be in Wyoming. I'm like a gypsy Mom. We travel so much and already the baby is almost four months old. He's traveled a lot. We live out of suitcases and he's either gonna hate us for it or love us for it. It's definitely trying to create a home environment wherever you go.

Do you want Ryder to be a movie star or a rock star?

KH: I want Ryder to be whatever he wants to be, as long as he does it one hundred and twenty percent. I'll be a happy Mom. He's a very serious boy. He came out, his eyes were wide open and he was just looking around. I know this is going to sound really crazy but this generation of babies, I find are very alert and serious. I found out that it's the indigo babies. I'm a crystal baby, its New Agey crazy stuff but I believe in it. Indigo is a very intense color, like an aura. Revolutionaries are indigo people, and this is a very powerful generation. They're so alert so early on, and when he came out man, he was taking everything in and it was very intense.

So much has been said about you not bouncing back right away to your movie star weight.

KH: I gained sixty pounds and I'm proud of it (eating ice cream sundaes and banana splits). I would eat a pint of ice cream a day literally and I think it's because I don't drink milk and it was this calcium thing. The other thing is I would squeeze two lemons in a glass of water without any sugar and it was so tart and I would guzzle them. I loved them so much. It was fun. Why do I need to watch my weight when I'm pregnant? I could eat whatever the hell I want to eat. He (Ryder) weighed 8 pounds 11 ounces and he was two weeks early. The whole family has big families and it runs in the family. I'm OK being big. Everybody else was more worried about it than I was when I was losing the weight. All the magazines I did I weighed about 145 pounds and I'm proud of it. I had a baby. There's nothing to be ashamed of when you blow up.

How did you lose the weight?

KH: I had to start shooting the movie I'm doing now (The Skeleton Key). I just knew that when I was shooting, I didn't want to get two months into it and then all of a sudden drop my weight drastically from being 145 pounds to 118 pounds. I worked out every day for two to three hours a day for about two and a half months. I have a wonderful trainer who's been very dedicated. I did lose the weight pretty fast. It was just more about making the film.

How is Chris (Robinson) as a Dad?

KH: He's great. He doesn't change too many diapers. He says it's because everybody gets so excited when the baby poops that he doesn't even get a chance to get close to him. (laughs) Our whole world is poop right now. Did he poop? What color is it?

Does having a baby strengthen the marriage?

KH: I just think that it takes on a different level of respect. We're sharing something so gigantic and something is so much more important. It definitely takes on a different feeling. I think it's the best feeling. I think it's the best we've ever felt together. Finding time to be alone is hard but we've been alone for four years.

Did Chris shriek in horror when you did the karaoke scene for Raising Helen, singing very much off key?

KH: No he loves that. He enjoys that. The song (I Want To Know What Love Is) of course was my choice. That's like the cheesy song of the early nineties that we all know so well of that generation. I do karaoke. That's one of the songs I like to sing. My brother (Oliver) and I always sing Where The Eagles Fly (Up Where We Belong) and California Dreamin,' a little Melissa Etheridge. You gotta go with the good stuff.

What kind of music are you listening to these days?

KH: We always listen to music. John Renbourn is something we've been listening to a lot lately. Chris is just a wellspring of music. He's always discovering new bands. Almost a year ago we were listening to The Polyphonic Sprees. My husband is weird. You sell a song to a commercial and they're out. He's really into more independent music. I listen to his music all the time. When he's not around it gives me a chance to listen to him. Before I met him I was such a big Black Crowes fan. I have all these shows and all these bootlegs that I just always put them on and listen to them because they're a great band.

Was it hard for you to go back to work after becoming a new Mom to do The Skeleton Key?

KH: When you're nursing and you're working eighteen hour days; that's pretty hard. It was great (to go back to work). I just kind of look at it and say how lucky I am as a working mother that I can have him with me. It's just hard because the time that I spend with him when I'm working is just nursing instead of being able to do all that stuff. I can only do that in the morning and at night. Then I'm nursing at night which means I'm not getting a whole lot of sleep. But everything is beautiful. I wouldn't ask for anything different.

What is the shoot like for The Skeleton Key?

KH: It's crazy because I've got bruises up and down my body. I have been climbing two story trellises and running in the mud and knocking myself, crashing cars. It's excellent. It's a psychological thriller with Gena Rowlands and John Hurt.

Are you planning on having more kids?

KH: I guess just play it by ear. I need a break to go out and have a couple of drinks before I go and do this all over again. It's been a long time since I've been able to go out and have a nice night with my husband.

Can you see yourself in years to come being a disciplinarian to your kids like your character (in Raising Helen) has to be?

KH: I think about that all the time. I almost think like Ryder is going to discipline us! Chris and I have this thing that Ryder is going to say, 'Oooh you're going into your teepee guys. It's not the sixties anymore. Going to Big Sur for the weekend Mom? Great.' (laughs) We'll see. I think I'll be good. I think I'll be able to lay down the law when I have to.

Ironically you were on the set of Overboard at eight years old when Garry Marshall directed Goldie and Kurt in that film. It must be kismet working together so many years later.

KH: From being eight or nine to when we worked together, I didn't ever spend much time with him. He's such a fantastic character you don't forget him. He was so memorable when I was a kid. Overboard was such a family set with all the kids. We lived in Mendocino (California) where they shot it. My Mom had Wyatt and Wyatt was maybe ten months old. It was a memorable experience for me because it had my Dad and my Mom together. To work with (Garry) again, I never forgot his nuances and his quirks.

What is your production company, Birdy Productions working on?

KH: That's what my Pa calls me, Birdy. It's been two and a half years that we've had this production company. We've developed a lot of projects. Right now I'm producing a sitcom for UPN (network) called I Did I Do, Now What which is about a young married couple. I'm producing the Atari story (for NBC network) which is really exciting to me because that's what I grew up on. It's fascinating about these kids who produced this first video (game) and they were like these stoners. They smoked a lot of pot and they did a lot of drugs. They made this big empire and then blew all their money away. There's lots of interesting stories there for a two hour miniseries.

Since you have become interested in producing television, any thoughts on reality television?

KH: I am such a sucker for reality television. It's almost like it's so absurd that you can't stop watching it. I just think it's a phase and people will get over it. Shows will get more and more obnoxious and silly and then you won't want to watch it anymore. The two reality television shows I watch is American Idol and Survivor, stick with the first ones.

Do you think reality television is fair when there are so many out of work actors?

KH: I know so many fantastic actors that I went to summer stock with and know in my circle of friends in New York who can't get arrested. Maybe they don't look the way people want them to look so it's hard. Then you have people who can't act and they get all these parts. I think Paris Hilton falls into her own category. Good for her. She's made a career out of it.

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