Kate Hudson

08/12/2005 at 06:00 AM EDT

Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson
Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMA

Kate Hudson

Kate Hudson

After a string of romantic comedies including How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Raising Helen, Kate Hudson seemed poised to follow in the footsteps of another bubbly blonde – mom Goldie Hawn. But she's scaring up a new image with her new movie, the New Orleans-set horror film The Skeleton Key. Hudson, 26, talked recently about motherhood (she has a 19-month-old son, Ryder, with rocker husband Chris Robinson), ghosts and what really frightens her.

Has Ryder started talking?
Uh huh. He knows all his colors and he's a wonderful mimic. He says things like "elbow" and "pimple." He pointed at my pimple this morning and said, "Pimple. Pimple." I'm like, "Thank you for pointing that out!"

Did you have any postpartum depression after Ryder was born?
I did a little bit. Not a very intense depression, but I had a phase. In simple terms, I realized for the first time how much a human being is capable of loving something. Love is scary … if you're going to jump off that cliff you have to give (the person) everything. And when you have a kid, it's even on a much greater level.

How has motherhood changed your life?
I feel more vivacious, more sexual, more alive, vital, fearless, and I think that it's because I'm seeing it in him. I watch him bolt across the room and scream at the top of his lungs in sheer joy and just ram himself into a wall, fall down, cry, and I'm going, "He just went through a gamut of emotions and experienced all of them at that very moment." I wish we could all find that place, that baby in us.

You got a lot of attention for losing your pregnancy weight just before you started filming The Skeleton Key.
I gained almost 70 pounds, and I had to lose it in three and a half months. There was nothing fun about it. At one point, I was maybe 25 lbs. overweight, but I felt like I was doing okay, and (yet) there was a lot of pressure to be skinny and, "Is she going to lose it?" You feel like, "Isn't that funny that people can't embrace that even when you've just had a baby?"

Is this movie a dramatic detour for you? Most people think of you as happy and bubbly.
I hope I'm fooling people! No, I am happy and bubbly. I'm not bubbly all the time, but I have been in the past. And I'm definitely energetic. Is that bubbly?

What's harder: horror or comedy?
For me, accessing my fears was a lot easier than when I have to deliver a punchline or be "up," because I'm not always "up." Whereas my fears are always somehow available.

Was Ryder with you during filming?
Uh huh. We were in the heat of mosquito-breeding season. Everyone has all their chemicals on them and I'm breastfeeding, so I'm chemical-free and being eaten alive, trying to stand as close to a citronella candle as possible.

What was it like working in the giant house where much of the movie takes place?
The house itself was crazy. A lot of times I'd have to go into some weird room by myself and pump (breast milk), and I'd sit there and go, "This place is creepy." It was totally haunted. All the wallpaper was falling down, and there were all these weird things that cluttered the rooms, these weird collections that looked like they were out of the '60's. So that definitely added to the eerie, spooky theme of the movie.

Do you believe in ghosts?
I believe that people who believe in things will get what they want from that.

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