Academy Award nominee Kate Hudson makes her thriller/horror debut in The Skeleton Key. This new film is a bit of a departure for her. Kate plays Caroline, a young woman who answers an ad for a live-in nurse in the newspaper, and is hired on the spot to care for the victim of a stroke (John Hurt) and his equally elderly wife (Gena Rowlands).
Despite her best friend Jill’s (Joy Bryant) warnings about living out in such an isolated, alligator-infested area, Caroline packs up her VW Bug and moves in. Intrigued by the enigmatic couple, their mysterious and secretive ways and of course, their sprawling house, Caroline beings to explore. Aided by an antique skeleton key that unlocks every door, she discovers a hidden attic room that holds the secret she’s been so curious about… and… boo!
Scary stuff. What wasn’t scary for Kate was embarking on a new part of her career, and working for the first time as a new mother. “It is definitely a challenge,” she admits. “You have to be constantly conscious of it, I think. It’s so easy to just when you have any time just to go right into your child. That’s your primary focus is baby every day, morning, noon and night. And then I don’t know, it’s a constant guilty feeling when you do anything for yourself, when you do anything for your career, when you do anything for your husband, when you do anything with your girlfriends because it’s taking you away from time with your baby.
“I just have to keep reiterating to myself that it’s important for me to make sure that my son knows that we all have lives and everybody’s lives are important and everybody’s individuality is important. Hopefully they’ll grow up like I did, realizing that we’re never the center of anybody’s attention all the time or the center of the universe or all of that.”
With her rock star husband — Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes — and Kate both having very busy schedules, things can get pretty overwhelming. “You do have moments where you have to have that release, whether it’s having to punch a bag, go do a boxing class or whether it’s just to cry. It’s not of any sadness. It’s just a release of pure exhaustion because women especially know when they’re mothers, even when they don’t have careers, they made the career of being a mom. Your energy, you’re always on.
“It’s the same thing as the first time I went away from Ryder, a week ago. I’m in Europe and I wake up in the morning, or I come home that night after having dinner with everybody and I’m having a drink and I came home and I’m like, “I’ve got to get to sleep. I have to wake up in the morning and I’ve got to get Ryder.” And I just went, ‘Ryder. Ryder’s not here.’ And I had that first initial moment of saying wow, that’s always on your mind. So the only time you can really realize how exhausted you are is when you’re actually away from it.”
While Kate is perfectly satisfied with her career to date, she is glad to have a chance to shake things up a bit with The Skeleton Key, which is a very suspenseful thriller, complete with supernatural shadowing. “I’m 26. I really haven’t done very many films. Since Almost Famous, I’ve done five? Six? So I don’t feel like… I don’t know. I feel like my age, I don’t get to walk up to a big bin of amazingly dimensional fascinating characters. I get the young girl who’s starting out her life and is cute and perky and falls in love for the first time. And that’s great and some of them are really good and some of them are better than others.
“I kind of looked at it like, that’s why I’ve taken three years off in my career so far. I don’t want to rush anything. I don’t want to feel like I have to work all the time. I want to wait until I get to an age where I can play more dimensional roles and hopefully I’m — I don’t know, I still feel young — making comedies are so much fun. Hands down, fun, you laugh, it takes a lot of energy and boy, you’re almost even more exhausted doing that than when you’re running through forests all day. Because you have to be so energetic.
“But I feel like I’d be bored if I always did comedies, and I feel like I’d be bored if I was always a dramatic actor. I just want to continually find things about the craft and find things about new characters, discover new things about myself and through them or in my life bring them to characters. It’s just the funnest business to be in. It’s the funnest job. When I get to wake up every day and I get to go on set, I have so much fun. It feels like ‘Man, how lucky is that?’ I just love it.”