Jennifer Hudson says ”Omigod” a lot. Not in a melodramatic, Gossip Girl way, but in one that shows genuine awe. Like when she exclaims, ”Omigod, that was crazy,” of her experiences on the set of the Sex and the City movie. Those three jammed-together words convey the wonder, the admiration, even the fear that the 26-year-old Oscar winner (and Golden Globe, BAFTA, and SAG award recipient) felt upon joining the seasoned team of actors: ”It felt like hopping in the fast lane on the expressway. I’m like, Slow down! I’m new!”
Not for long. The Chicago native has three movies coming out within the next year: first, Sex and the City, in which she plays Carrie’s assistant, Louise; the ensemble Winged Creatures; and in October The Secret Life of Bees, in which she’ll star as Dakota Fanning’s mother figure. There’s also her new single ”Spotlight,” her song on the Sex soundtrack, and — at long last — her debut album coming out in September. Yep, J-Hud is back, and about to remind us what she’s made of.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Your album is done?
JENNIFER HUDSON Finally! The album! Really, this is what I’ve been waiting for, dreaming of my whole life. It’s just a matter of narrowing down [the song choices]. I’ve got the jitters because it’s my first album and a lot of people don’t realize that. Everybody thinks I did that already: ”This is your second or third album.” I’m like, No, this is my first album.
Congratulations! But it’s been over four years since Idol — why did it take so long to finish?
Because I didn’t expect to be a singer and an actress. I’ve been very busy. I’ve shot three films. And I told my team I want to put my attention on one or the other. When I’m acting I don’t sing, and when I’m recording I’m not acting.
Is that something you learned from Beyoncé?
I still don’t know how Beyoncé does it. We’d be rehearsing for Dreamgirls and she’d have to leave and go perform for a TV show or something. I’d be like, I can’t even remember these steps we’re doing right here; how in the world do you remember this for this television performance, this song for Beyoncé’s performance, go sing with Destiny’s Child, and then come back and be a Dreamgirl?! [Exhales] I’m still trying to figure that out. I don’t consider myself this big professional whatever just because I won an Oscar. I have to get my feet wet, pay attention, learn something, and I don’t want to be distracted.
What did you learn on SATC?
Omigod, that was crazy. Sex and the City has its own rhythm. It has comic timing, and that’s new to me. Not to mention there’s all the people in the streets watching. My first day of shooting, we were in the subway with real New Yorkers — it shocked the mess out of me. They’re coming over to Jennifer Hudson and I’m Louise. I’m like, I want to be Jennifer right now, but I’m in the middle of a scene.
What’s Louise like?
Louise is a bag girl, she loves purses. So when I read for the part with Sarah Jessica, I took a handbag in as Louise would do.
What kind of bag?
Louis Vuitton denim patchwork, but it was huge — you could fit Sarah in it! Louise’s budget is a little [lower], but she tries to keep up. All her bags are high-end. She carries Chanel, everybody, you name it. She tries to steal Carrie’s shoes.
So Louise has a shoe fetish too. Do you?
I’m just not a shoe girl. I remember when I went to take my shoes off [during the shoot] and [director] Michael Patrick [King] was like, ”Uh-uh, you have to wear the heels at all times,” and I was like, Yes, sir! You’re not in character unless you’re in your heels.
NEXT PAGE: We went to the Vanity Fair party and on every table were these magazines…and on the cover was my picture: ”Worst Dressed.”