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Friday, 9 February, 2001, 01:28 GMT
Kate Hudson: More than famous
Kate Hudson in Almost Famous
Critics agree that Hudson lights up the screen
By BBC News Online's Rebecca Thomas

Celebrity credentials don't come much more glowing than those of American actress Kate Hudson.

As the 21-year-old daughter of Oscar-winner Goldie Hawn and musician Bill Hudson - her entry onto the Hollywood A-list would seem to have been guaranteed.

 Click here to watch Kate Hudson talk to BBC News Online

But famous parents are no ticket to success. And if Hudson is suddenly grabbing headlines for her role in Almost Famous, she is confident it is entirely due to her own talent.

Hudson plays devoted groupie - or "band aid" - Penny Lane in Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical movie about fictional 70s rock band Stillwater out on the road.

I laugh when people go on about the advantages I have had - my mother's main influence has come from just being a great parent

Kate Hudson

The film has been a massive hit with the critics and won Hudson a prestigious Golden Globe for best supporting actress.

"I laugh when people go on about the advantages I have - my mother's main influence has come from just being a great parent," says Hudson with a composure of someone twice her age.

"I could have all the accolades in the world and it wouldn't go away. I can either embrace it or rebel against it. I embrace it because I love my parents to bits."

Goldie Hawn
Goldie Hawn: Hudson is used to the comparisons
Goldie Hawn split up from Bill Hudson when Kate was three. She has since come to think of her stepfather Kurt Russell as "Pa".

Much of Hudson's childhood was spent absorbing the Hollywood scene. "I grew up on movie sets and had a blast," fizzes Hudson.

Yet, until Almost Famous, Hudson had only had small roles in 200 Cigarettes - with Ben Affleck - and Desert Blue - with Christina Ricci.


As a long-time admirer of Crowe - the Oscar-nominated director of Jerry Maguire - Hudson was determined to get any part in his new film.

Then, when Sarah Polley dropped out of the role of Penny Lane, Hudson went into overdrive to secure the plum part.

Kate is a fun-loving girl who just captured the mood

Cameron Crowe

"I fell in love with the character immediately. When I read it for the first time I felt I could really give something to Cameron," Hudson enthuses.

"This whole movie for me was about giving to Cameron."

Crowe has described Penny Lane as a young woman "who has slept with a lot of guys, yet does not look or feel like a victim".

He adds: "Kate is a fun-loving girl who just captured the mood."

Almost Famous
Hudson watches Stillwater with co-star Patrick Fugit

Hudson explains: "There is an innocence to Penny even though she's seen and done a lot.

"But she does have a sense that she's got something special, that she can make it a party just by walking into a room."

Critics concede that Hudson steals just about every scene she is in Almost Famous. Crowe says it was this radiant quality that helped her secure the role.

Rock 'n' Roll

Just as influential was Hudson's knowledge and love of rock music - inspired by Kurt Russell's addiction to Led Zepplin.

Chris Robinson and Kate Hudson
Hudson found a soul mate in Robinson

But even Hudson was impressed by the performance of Almost Famous's mock band, headed by Billy Crudup as the star of Stillwater.

None of the actors had played an instrument before, but after coaching from musician Peter Frampton, Hudson raves: "I couldn't believe it - it was a full-on rock 'n' roll concert. It was incredible."

She adds that meeting Crowe - who started life as a rock journalist - was also an "education".

We are such geeks - we just sit in our little home and read each other poems

Kate Hudson on her marriage

More valuable still was Hudson's meeting two years ago with the rock band Black Crowes. Since New Year, Hudson has been married to the band's singer Chris Robinson, who is 13 years her senior.

"When I first met Chris and all the guys in the band, for the first time I met people who really loved and were educated on music," says Hudson.

"I realised they were the one rock'n'roll band today that really digged great music of all kinds."

But for all that, Hudson brushes off suggestions that she and Robinson live a rock'n'roll lifestyle.

"Hell no," she laughs. "Chris goes on tour and is finishing the band's album but as lovers we are such geeks.

"We just sit in our little home and read each other poems."

Hudson scoops the Golden Globe
Hudson scoops the Golden Globe

With the Oscars looming on the horizon, Hudson could be garnering more accolades for her role as Penny Lane.

The inevitable comparisons with her mother will she knows be trotted again. But Hudson says she will soldier on regardless.

She is currently filming period war epic the Four Feathers and concludes philosophically:

"I always wanted to perform and when I started acting I knew my mother would be a big reason for the attention that was drawn to me.

"But I never felt I had to 'make my mark' and I never questioned that I could do it."

Almost Famous opens on 9 February

See also:

31 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Director Crowe's Famous venture
02 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Actress Kate's rock'n'roll wedding
22 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Hudson makes a Famous start
18 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Critics crown Almost Famous
31 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Hoffman proves his character
22 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Globes honour Gladiator
22 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Golden Globes 2001: The Winners
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