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Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson has gone from "Dreamgirls," to dream job, as one of the only new cast members in the highly anticipated “Sex in the City” movie. Hudson plays innocent Midwestern girl, Louise, who comes into Carrie Bradshaw's life at just the right time. We recently spoke to Hudson about landing her plum role, how she worked her way into the established “Sex and the City” quartet and her upcoming album. 

How was it being an honorary member of the group?

Jennifer Hudson: It was the best. I still can’t believe I’m a part of it. It’s already established and then you decide to throw little old me in it, so, I’m honored.

With so many scripts and projects being thrown at you right after the Oscar win, why did you choose this film?

JH: I definitely wanted something without any singing involved, and I didn’t want to pick something in which I was biting off more than I can chew; so I think this was the perfect part. It wasn’t too much and it wasn’t too little, but it was just right to get my feet wet in the door with just acting. And then it’s ‘Sex and the City”. What else could you ask for?

I think a lot of women of color who really loved the show are so impressed to see you join the cast. How is that experience of being a major player in the film?

JH: That is such an honor for me. Like wow. To be the new character, and then to be the African American supporting that character, it’s like, wow! Of all the people they could have chosen, I get to be the one and I hope that I get to represent us [African America women] well.

Did you feel like you were being pledged because you were coming into their little sorority? Did they haze you at all on the set?

JH: They didn’t haze me, but they made me feel very welcome. It’s like a big family. It’s like sitting around this table with you and all I see is characters and I was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s Miranda!’ But they made me feel right at home. With them knowing each other so well and working for so long and here I come. I felt like a new baby of the family.

How familiar were you with the show before being invited to be a part of it?

JH: I wasn’t that familiar with it to be honest. I knew of ‘Sex and the City’ but I had never seen it before, and I knew it was a huge show and my sister is a big fan of it, but I never watched it. Once they called me for the audition and I read the script, I fell in love with it, and I hate reading scripts, I’ll be honest, but I could not put it down. ‘Oh my God, that was so good’ and I had to go back to pages, and keep going. It was hilarious. And then I wanted to see the series and I asked for every episode and every DVD. I’m addicted now. I can’t stop watching it. I have the DVDs with me everywhere I go. I carry this heavy bag so when you see it, you know ‘Sex and the City’ is in it.

Your character is from St. Louis but she comes to New York. Were you looking to discover who she was?

JH: I don’t know if I could relate to Louise a lot. It was probably one of the most difficult things. It’s sort of hard to play someone similar to yourself; but I’m nobody’s assistant and I’m awful at it. Those things are not me, but the bossy side, that’s me. When I go home, I’m the youngest of the family, and my character Louise is the oldest of five, but I’m still the boss even being the youngest. So when I go home, I’m still like, ‘Mama, you do this. You do that. Jason, you do this, and Jenny, you do that.’ I got to put my persona into Louise.

How did you prepare for the role? Were you nervous?

JH: I was excited about it. I didn’t really think about that. I just hopped into the fashion of it and let her [Patricia Field] do her thing and she helps bring that to life. That’s more of her department.

How are you enjoying your acting career? It’s obviously very different from going into the studio for a couple of hours singing and being all day on a set.

JH: I love it. I can’t believe that I get to have both singing and acting and get to balance the two. I never once thought about acting. I think I act more than I sing now. Although I’ve been in the studio recording my album when I’m not filming, but it’s like okay, I’m running across the street, here’s the music and here’s the acting.

Is there more pressure to do acting since you won an Oscar with your first performance? Do you feel you have to keep acting?

JH: I want to. I only do things because I want to. If I don’t have an interest, I’m not going to do it. I found the love in acting and that’s why I want to do it. I get to play other people and do things that I would not normally get a chance to do in acting.

When you were singing, did you ever envision yourself acting? Did you always want to do this?

JH: I only started with music. That was it. It never occurred to me. My mom would tell me, ‘Jennifer, you could act’ because I would do some acting around the house. Other than that, I had never thought about it.

Can you talk about your next album and what we can expect?

JH: It’s my first album, not the next. Everyone would say to me, ‘When is your next album coming out?’ This is my first one other than the ‘Dreamgirls’ soundtrack, but that was Effie on it. Right now, it’s a huge variety of everything, but the first single is ‘Spotlight’ and it has a great pop feel, and it’s still clubbish; it’s very different. Everybody is so used to or adjusted to the sound of Effie coming from me, but it’s going to be very different. I think people will be surprised.

Who are you working with producer-wise?

JH: I’ve worked with everybody it seems like. I’ve worked with Pharrell. I’ve worked with Timberland. I’ve worked with T-Pain. I’ve worked with Diane Warren, and I’ve worked with Stargate and Ne-Yo.

Are there any guest appearances on the album?

JH: It’s mainly just me. It’s a solo. I did do a duet with T-Pain, and that’s probably the only one. I would love to do something with others, but hopefully there’s room for other albums.

Can you talk about working with Sarah (Jessica Parker)?

JH: That was just amazing, working with Sarah. It was a lot of fun. I didn’t get a chance to work with the other ladies, but I did get to cross paths with them. It was never really that intense. It was nothing to make me feel intimidated or anything like that. They were always running around singing and harmonizing and I loved that. We had a lot of fun together.

Did you guys have a sing-off?

JH: I would just sit and hear them sing, but they would try to get me to sing everyday, and I was like, ‘Really? What do you want me to sing today?’ and then they would sing and I love that, when people sing to me.

How was shooting in New York?

JH: Oh my God! That was so crazy shooting in New York. I’ve only filmed ‘Dreamgirls’ and I did do ‘Winged Creatures’ but it was small and no one really knew it and everything. In ‘Dreamgirls’ I was on a center stage in a studio and I come here and we’re outside in the streets of New York, and New York is watching me film the movie; and people are stopping me in the middle of shooting a scene. ‘Oh my God! It’s Jennifer Hudson, can I get an autograph or maybe a picture. Oh my God. There’s a camera. I’m in the middle of a scene.’ (Laughs) I don’t know who to be right now, if I’m supposed to stop and smile for the camera. How do you handle it? So, all of that was crazy. It threw me off the first day, but the next day I was ready for the cameras and all, the paparazzi, I didn’t care. I was smiling for my pictures and ready for Louise.

Your character Louise moves to New York, so was her feeling of optimism contagious for you?

JH: I think it can be. I think the feeling and the vibe of ‘Sex and the City’ was more contagious because I was living in New York and, I’m so serious, it’s really sex and the city here. Staying here and filming it. I’m in a nice place here in New York and I’m young and I love living...like every fashion girl I know. I thought I was in the film just by being here. 

 

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 83 - September 4738
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