Wearing a white strapless gown encrusted with crystals and vertigo-inducing white platform heels, Hudson – currently linked to Yankee star Alex Rodriguez – walked the red carpet by herself and told reporters that her all-singing, all-dancing role was a dream come true, not only for herself but for Ryder, her 5-year-old son with former husband, musician Chris Robinson.
"It's like the most exhilarating, joyful thing in the world – I had so much fun," said the 1998 Oscar nominee, who plays a flirtatious journalist in Nine. She told PEOPLE that the film, based on the 1982 Tony-winning Broadway musical (which, in turn, was loosely based on Italian film director Federico Fellini's slightly autobiographical 1963 8½), made quite an impression on her boy, who often traveled with her to the set.
"It the first time I saw him in shock, recognizing what it is that I do," she said. "I really think it was the first time it hit him."
Earlier in the week Hudson and her baseball star beau enjoyed some down time, in the boho neighborhood of Notting Hill, where they stopped for coffee and snapped photos of one another as they shopped.
The Stars AlignThe unveiling of the movie, directed by Chicago filmmaker Rob Marshall, certainly took on an Oscar-caliber, international flavor. Also on-hand were Nicole Kidman, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench and leading man Daniel Day-Lewis.
Cruz, who plays the amorous but creatively blocked director's mistress in the movie, attended the premiere with her sister Monica Cruz and affectionately greeted Kidman, Hudson and Dench in the cinema's foyer.
"We have only good things to say about how much fun we had together and how much we loved working together," said Cruz. "It's boring, but that's the truth."
Urban and Kidman's Date
"Every single one of them will surprise you," said Dench, whose Best Supporting Actress Oscar is for 1998's Shakespeare in Love. "When we were suddenly all on stage doing the opening number – that was pretty amazing!"
As for the finished product, she told PEOPLE, "I thought films like this aren't made at the moment. We're in a recession, and here is this huge film with so many people. It took my breath away!"
For Kidman, the premiere permitted a date night with husband Keith Urban. After signing autographs, the actress was gallantly offered a hand by her hubby as she approached the stairs.
"I hope you enjoy it," Dench shouted, as she, Kidman, and Hudson took to the stage with Marshall to introduce the film. She then added, "We did."