Film interview: Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson.
Jennifer Hudson.
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In Hollywood, you’re never more than a few films away from some bright young thing coming along and stealing your spotlight.

At 32, you’d hope Jennifer Hudson has a long career ahead of her before she needs to worry about that happening – but it turns out there was an emerging star eyeing up her enviable position on the set of her new film, Black Nativity.

“My baby makes his debut in this film,” says Hudson, laughing heartily.

She’s talking about little David, her four-year-old son with fiance David Otunga, a professional wrestler and Harvard Law graduate.

The singer and actress plays a single mum in the musical movie, about a streetwise teen from Baltimore who journeys to New York to spend Christmas with his estranged relatives, which also stars Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and ‘Hudson Junior’, of course.

“There’s a scene where we’re at the station and he’s sitting there on someone’s lap, as if he’s waiting to go on the train.”

Hudson’s powerful voice brought her worldwide acclaim when she competed in the 
third series of American Idol in 2004.

Raised in Chicago, Hudson “grew up singing in church”, and knew from an early age that she wanted to make a living out of her passion for music.

She finished seventh in the American singing contest. After the show, she quickly found herself in demand, landing her biggest breakthrough as Effie White in Dreamgirls, which saw her share the screen with mega-stars Beyonce and Jamie Foxx.

It was her first silver screen role, but Hudson cinched the 2007 Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

A year on, she picked up a Grammy Award for her debut album, Jennifer Hudson, and since then has appeared in the Sex And The City movie and took the title role in 2011’s Winnie Mandela.

Professionally, Hudson might be flourishing, but there have been big challenges in her personal life, including the tragic killing of her mother, brother and seven-year-old nephew, who were murdered by her former brother-in-law William Balfour in 2008.

Last year, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the actress told how she’d forgiven Balfour for the crimes, because he never experienced the love and happy upbringing that her mother, Darnell Donnerson, had given Hudson’s family.

she finds comfort in keeping a small “energy stone” close to hand.

“I’m very sensitive to energies and this centres my energy,” says the star.

* Black Nativity is released in cinemas on Friday.

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