Actress Kate Hudson poses for a photo during an interview for the movie 'You, Me and Dupree' in Santa Monica, California in this June 23, 2006 file photo. The movie opens in the U.S. on July 14. (Mario Anzuoni/Files/Reuters)
Actress Kate Hudson is lucky, and she knows it. But the 27-year-old's success in her relatively short Hollywood career has been hard earned, even for the daughter of a popular Hollywood star.
She appears onscreen again on Friday in romantic comedy, "You, Me and Dupree," starring opposite Owen Wilson and Matt Dillon.
Hudson is the daughter of "Private Benjamin" Goldie Hawn who raised her with long-time companion Kurt Russell, a veteran of more than 40 years in show biz.
She also earned an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress in her first big role in a major film, playing rock 'n' roll groupie Penny Lane in "Almost Famous."
If it all sounds like it came too easy, it didn't.
"I didn't want to be associated with my parents, didn't want the perception that I rode on somebody's coattails, and I had to be very conscious of that," she said. "I feel pretty lucky. I feel pretty blessed, but I'm a real hard worker.
Six years after "Almost Famous," Hudson has more than eight movies on her resume ranging from period dramas like "The Four Feathers" to supernatural thriller "The Skeleton Key."
None have brought her the acclaim of "Almost Famous," and only one has been a box office hit, romantic comedy "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" co-starring Matthew McConaughey.
After "Almost Famous," one-time teen idol Russell told Hudson that throughout her career she might perform in perhaps four movies in which she would have a quality role like Penny Lane if, that is, she were lucky.
Hudson, who is married to rocker Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes, said she is happy to have had at least one.
"You, Me and Dupree" will not likely win awards during Hollywood's trophy season this winter. It is a light comedy in which Hudson portrays a newlywed whose home becomes the temporary domicile of her husband's best friend, Dupree.
Hudson's character Molly marries Carl (Dillon) in a romantic Hawaiian wedding, and after a love-filled honeymoon, the pair returns home to a new life together. But close behind them is Carl's out-of-work friend, the deadbeat Dupree (Wilson).
Dupree sleeps on their couch, eats their food and has sex in their living room. He's a nuisance to the newlyweds, but he is not the only one complicating Carl's life.
Molly's dad, Mr. Thompson, also is Carl's boss and a real pain in Carl's posterior. Frankly, he hates Carl.
All the conflict in their newlywed life leads to a strained marriage that is ripe for comic situations.
Although Hudson seems to have adopted her mom's flair for comedy, the daughter plays against that type in "You, Me and Dupree." Molly is the earnest, straightforward wife to the comic antics of Dupree and Carl, but playing against her type is just what Hudson said made her want to take the role.
"I've always known how frustrating it is when people don't understand how important the straight role is, because grounding comedy is the most important dynamic," she said.
"I thought, 'I can't wait to do this and we'll see if it is going to be challenging for me,' and it was the most challenging thing I've done."
Beyond the on-screen jokes, Hudson said "You, Me and Dupree" has several sweet messages to deliver about friends, family, love and growing up.
Hudson has grown up a lot on her own in recent years. She married Robinson in 2000, and they had a son, Ryder, in 2004.
The family travels together when dad is on tour or mom is shooting a movie. Hudson said it is hard juggling work and motherhood, but in a way, she, Robinson and Ryder are lucky because they have a lot of time together between jobs.
"You kind of do the best you can as long as priorities are set straight, and for me that's just Ryder," she said.
When she was growing up, Hawn and Russell raised her and her brothers in Colorado. Her father is former musician and TV comedian Bill Hudson, but he and Hawn divorced when she was 18 months old. She often refers to Russell as her "Pa."
Hudson said that similar to her own upbringing, she expects to raise Ryder outside Hollywood circles.
She opted out of college despite being accepted to New York University and started acting at 18.
Hudson credits her early, low-budget movies like "200 Cigarettes" and the summer's Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts with giving her a sense that a good career is something that is earned and not simply given to you -- especially when your parents are already stars.