Kate Hudson Addresses Backlash to Her Film Music Over Autism Representation: 'We Are Listening'
"It is an important conversation to have," Kate Hudson said
Kate Hudson is speaking out about the backlash to her new movie Music.
While appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Friday, the actress, 41, addressed the ongoing criticism of Sia's directorial debut, Music, and the singer's decision to cast her frequent collaborator Maddie Ziegler as a character on the autism spectrum.
Ziegler, 18, stars opposite Hudson, who plays Zu, a recently sober drug dealer who suddenly becomes the guardian of her younger sister named Music (Ziegler), a special-needs teen who communicates through a device that speaks for her, and who always listens to music via large headphones.
"I think when people see the film, that they will see the amount of love and sensitivity that was put into it," Hudson told host Jimmy Kimmel when asked about the backlash surrounding Music. "But it is an important conversation to have, not just about this movie, but as a whole — about representation."
"For me, when I hear that there's anybody that feels left out I feel terrible," she continued. "It's an ongoing and important dialogue to be had, about neurotypical actors portraying neurodivergent characters. It is an important one to have with people with experts and who know how to engage in the conversation. I encourage it, truly. I think that it's important to say that we are listening."
Music is co-written by Sia and Dallas Clayton, and Sia also penned the soundtrack to the movie, which additionally stars Leslie Odom Jr., Juliette Lewis and Ben Schwartz.
The 45-year-old "Chandelier" singer has repeatedly defended her decision to cast Ziegler. In an interview with the Australian talk show The Project last month, Sia said she couldn't do the movie without Ziegler, who has appeared in Sia's countless music videos and visuals over the years.
"I realized it wasn't ableism — I mean, it is ableism, I guess, as well — but it's actually nepotism, because I can't do a project without her, I don't want to. I wouldn't make art if it didn't include her," said Sia.
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Sia added that Ziegler was concerned about portraying the role at first, but the first-time director assured her that she would protect her from backlash — something she's found out she isn't able to do.
The movie recently earned two Golden Globe Award nominations, one for best motion picture and another for best actress for Hudson.
Speaking to Kimmel, 53, about the nomination, Hudson said she is "really excited," adding, "I really wasn't expecting it at all. It was very exciting."
Shortly after the Golden Globe nominations were announced, Sia apologized for a scene in the movie in which Ziegler's character is restrained in a way that can be dangerous to people with autism.
"I promise, have been listening. The motion picture MUSIC will, moving forward, have this warning at the head of the movie," she wrote, before sharing the full statement: "MUSIC in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people. There are autistic occupational therapists that specialize in sensory processing who can be consulted to explain safe ways to provide proprioceptive, deep-pressure feedback to help w meltdown safety."
"I plan to remove the restrain scenes from all future printings. I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough," Sia continued.