Kate Hudson addresses criticism of her film Music over depiction of autism: 'We are listening'
Co-written and directed by Sia, Music stars Hudson as a newly sober drug dealer who becomes the guardian of her half-sister Music, who is on the autism spectrum. The film has been sharply criticized by the autism community and other observers for casting non-autistic actress Maddie Ziegler as Music and for other aspects of its depiction of autism, which Hudson addressed during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Friday.
"I think when people see the film, that they will see the amount of love and sensitivity that was put into it," said the actress, who received a Golden Globe nomination earlier this month for her performance in the film. "But it is an important conversation to have, not just about this movie, but as a whole, about representation. When I hear that there's anybody that feels left out I feel terrible."
"It's an ongoing, important dialogue to be had about neurotypical actors portraying neurodivergent characters," she added. "It is an important one to have with people who are experts and know how to engage in the conversation. I encourage it, truly... We are listening, and it's an important dialogue to have."
Sia has also responded to the backlash, repeatedly insisting that she approached the project with good intentions. Following the film's initial trailer debut last November, the singer hit back at critics on social media, many of whom accused her of ableism for casting Ziegler instead of an autistic performer. She claimed that the story was "completely" inspired by her "neuro atypical [sic] friend" who "found it too stressful being non verbal, and I made this movie with nothing but love for him and his mother," and noted that she cast 13 neuroatypical people throughout the film.
Sia later announced that Music would include a warning at its start and that she had recut the film to remove alleged scenes showing restraint being used on Ziegler's character. "I promise, have been listening," the musician wrote on Twitter before deactivating her account, adding, "I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough."
On Kimmel, Hudson also noted that she felt she was "not the person to speak to" the larger issue of representation. "The spectrum is so wide and should be approached with far more conversation and understanding [of] how can we be more representative, what are the best ways to do that," she said. "We really want to tell the best stories, and when people feel upset about anything, it's our job to listen and encourage more conversation with other people who want to tell these stories."
You can watch the full interview above.