Oscar nominee and former '70s ''Band Aid'' (don't call her a groupie) Kate Hudson sits down with EW.com to discuss her new flick, ''The Four Feathers''

By Adam Duerson
Updated September 20, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Kate Hudson: iPhoto.ca/ImageDirect
  • Movie

After a year-long hiatus that Kate Hudson describes as time spent ”freshening up, rejuvenating, and being a wife” to the Black Crowes’ Chris Robinson, the 23-year-old Oscar-nominated actress (”Almost Famous”) is busy promoting her new 19th-century epic, ”The Four Feathers.” Hudson plays Ethne Eustace, an English socialite and fiancée (to Heath Ledger’s Harry Faversham) who’s torn between her lover and her patriotic beliefs. Hudson tells EW.com about the difficulties of a role she couldn’t quite relate to and explains what she’s been up to since filming ended over a year ago.

Was an epic something you were looking to do as a change of pace after lighter fare like ”200 Cigarettes” and ”Dr. T and the Women”?
I didn’t call my agent and say, ”I want to do an epic film.” It wasn’t like that. But when it came my way and I got to read the script, I definitely said, ”I want to be a part of this movie and work with someone like [director] Shekhar Kapur and play a very different type of role for me.” It was more challenging than playing something closer to my heart or closer to our time.

Your character makes an awful decision to value public opinion over love, and she leaves her fiancé out of embarrassment. Can you sympathize?
Making the decision that this character makes — and having to actually believe it — was a difficult process. It’s hard to understand why you would compromise loving somebody because of something like them not wanting to go to war. But when you’re young, irrational, and in love, you do irrational things.

So you wouldn’t want to be a 19th-century woman?
Personally, no. But I think there were a lot of women at that time who didn’t feel comfortable in that century. It was only how many decades later before women started ripping those [constraints] off and kicking up their skirts and saying, ”I am female, hear me roar”?

Wearing the wigs and the corsets must have been equally challenging.
The wig was heavy. I got some good neck muscles from that wig. A dialogue coach helped me with the manners and etiquette of the time and the movement of my hands. Women’s hands were usually [held in front of their bodies], and when you get the corset on, you understand why. Held down [at your sides], they feel awkward because the corset pulls them up. But to say that it was difficult to wear those things isn’t true. It was incredible. You get into these costumes and you immediately feel of the time and in character.

Did you take those mannerisms home with you at the end of the day?
No, because when that corset came off, I basically collapsed. My whole body would just concave, and slowly but surely I’d start expanding again.

The boys all got to film in Africa, but you only shot in foggy old England….
People ask, ”Don’t you miss getting to go [shoot in] Morocco?” No! This character has no clue what’s going on there [so it was right that I didn’t either]. Still, England was long hours and raining — and rain depresses me. It was winter, so two months of being there definitely got me into a place where living in London in those conditions in those outfits was not easy.

Okay, let’s forget about London…. Chris has a solo album in the works. How’s it going?
Ooh! See how much more fun I have talking about my husband than I do hyping myself? He likes to work in the morning. He wakes up early, goes outside, and just plays the guitar and writes music. His writing process happens all the time, and this is one of my favorite things: He has these incredible notebooks of paintings and lyrics and he takes them everywhere we go. He’s constantly writing in them.

Enough about him! Are you happy that the whole ”newcomer” phase of your career is finally over?
It was slightly whirl-windy…but I’m still just beginning.

The Four Feathers

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 130 minutes
  • Shekhar Kapur