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May 2008

An Interview with Jennifer Hudson
By Wilson Morales

May 7, 2008

Can you believe it's been almost a year and some months since Jennifer Hudson won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Effie in 'Dreamgirls'? You could never get tired of watching her or hearing her sing those memorable songs, and yet we want more.

Some say she got lucky on her first try as an actress and that she needs to prove that she could do more than just sing, and Hudson thinks so as well.

While basking in the glory of her win, Hudson has also been working her first album as well as taken on some film roles to strengthen her acting abilities. Rather than headline a film, especially with 'Oscar winner' next to her name, Hudson's first post-win role is a small but significant spot in the much anticipated film of the summer, 'Sex and the City: The Movie'.

Hudson will be playing Louise, an assistant to Carrie, played by Sarah Jessica Parker. In speaking to blackfilm.com, Hudson talks about her role, her upcoming album, and next two films with Forest Whitaker, Queen Latifah, and Alicia Keys.

So, 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.

It didn’t seem like Carrie introduce you to most of her friends?

JH: Yeah. Well, hopefully if there’s a 2 and 3 (as in sequels), I’ll get to meet them.

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 then I didn’t want to pick something that I was biting off more than I can chew; so I think this was like 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?

You did no singing, but you were on the soundtrack.

JH: Yes, Jennifer sings on the soundtrack but Louise is in the film.

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 is 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 feel right at home. With them knowing each other so well and working 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 and I’m addicted now. I can’t stop watching it. I have the DVD with me everywhere I go. I carry this heavy bag so when you see it, you know ‘Sex and the City’ is in it.

Are you a label girl at all and what labels are your favorites?

JH: I didn’t think I was until now. Every time I do an interview folks are like, ‘Look at how she’s dropping the name’. I’m really not, but I think I’m turning into one now. I’m really into my purses. I love purses just like Louise. That’s one connection we had together. I guess I’m turning into a label girl. I love my Jimmy Choo bag, and my YSL bag. I’ve come a long way. Normally I would go on the red carpet and I’m like, ‘Who am I wearing? What is this?’ and I’m learning. I’m getting there.

Your character is from St. Louis who 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 of 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 that. I didn’t really think about that. I just hopped into the fashion of it and let her do her thing and she helps bring that to life. That’s more of her department.

Can you talk more about the song? How did it all come about?

JH: It took a while to find the song. Michael Patrick King was not having it. You could not just get any song. ‘That’s not it. That’s not it. That’s not it’, he would say. I would say that it took a few months to find the song. When they found it, they found it. I think it’s the perfect song. It was written by Cee-lo (of Gnarls Barkley) and MC Jack Splash and I got to sing it of course. I think it’s a perfect fit because it’s about fashion like the movie is about and love and they put it together. I thought that was genius.

Will that song be in the new album or is it just for this movie?

JH: It’s a Sex and the City song. I think it’s just for the movie. I was instructed to sing like I never sang before, and I was like, ‘How am I going to do that?’, but that’s the note that I got from Michael. I was like, ‘Sing like I never sang before. Oh God! I don’t know’ so I’m just going to go in there and just sing. I did. I don’t think I sang so hard in my life. I think it’s a Sex and the City song.

You think you sang harder for this film than you did for ‘Dreamgirls’?

JH: Well, it’s a higher key, and it’s longer notes, so yeah.

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

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 on acting?

JH: I want to. I only do things because I want to do it. 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 you would 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 little acting around the house. ‘You were very believable. I think you would be a great actress’ and here I am. Other than that, I had never thought about it.

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