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Friday, 9 February, 2001, 01:28 GMT
Kate Hudson: More than famous
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.
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.
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."
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.
"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."
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.
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".
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."
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."
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