Kate Hudson has responded to backlash over her latest movie Music, which was directed by pop star Sia, saying: “We are listening.”
The actress stars opposite the singer’s frequent collaborator Maddie Ziegler, 18, in the film, which is about a special needs teenager called Music who communicates through a device that speaks for her.
The singer and director has come under fire for casting Ziegler in the title role, with some critics saying she should have chosen someone who is on the autism spectrum.
Hudson plays her older sister, a recently sober drug dealer who suddenly becomes the guardian of the young girl.
Asked about the criticism of the film, which has been nominated for two Golden Globes, Hudson told Jimmy Kimmel Live: “I think when people see the film, that they will see the amount of love and sensitivity that was put into it.
“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.
“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.”
The Chandelier singer has defended Ziegler’s casting in the film, telling Australian chat show The Sunday Project: “I realised 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.”
She added: “We sent it off to the Child Mind Institute and she received 100% as performance accuracy.
“She cried on the first day of rehearsals and she was really scared and said, ‘I don’t want anyone to think that I’m making fun of them.’ I bold-facedly said, ‘I won’t let that happen.’
“Last week I realised I couldn’t really protect her from that, which I thought I could.
“I realise that there are some things I can’t protect her from as much as I try.”