Jennifer Hudson has checked another box off her bucket list.
“I always wanted to do a comedy,” says the actress and singer. Hudson stars alongside Adam Sandler in “Sandy Wexler,” the third and latest movie of his four-movie deal with Netflix. “When they called me about having me in and also talk about the character — [the film] is a comedic version of “The Bodyguard” — I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m in.'”
Ah yes, Nineties nostalgia is alive and well. Hudson self-describes as a “fan of Adam Sandler,” and Netflix must be a fan as well — in March the streaming service announced another four-movie deal with Sandler. The slapstick comedian may not fare well with critics — who have overwhelmingly panned his latest work — but his first two original films for Netflix were its biggest original releases. Someone must be laughing.
“It was a good time going back into the Nineties,” gushes Hudson, who brushes off any criticism of the film. “It’s a lighthearted, great film,” she says. “The music was fun, the costumes — I had 30 wig changes, which was a lot of fun.”
She plays Courtney, a singer who is discovered by eccentric talent manager Sandy Wexler while performing in animal costume at an amusement park — a scene which isn’t too far off from Hudson’s personal experience. “I used to work for Disney, and I used to have to greet with the characters. I also was Calliope in ‘Hercules: The Musical,'” she says. “Also, my Disney director became my manager, just like Sandy became Courtney’s manager.”
Hudson’s favorite Nineties relics of the film? The fashion and music. “After doing the picking of the clothes and wardrobe…I was, like, ‘Oh, I’ve got that in my closet,’ or, ‘Oh, I need that in my closet.’ Some days I’m tempted to put the wigs on and just walk around — actually I did that yesterday…” she continues, trailing off.
They enlisted writer-producer Babyface to create a track for the film. He’s notable for producing and penning some of the biggest R&B hits of the last decade of the Millennium, working with Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, Toni Braxton, TLC and Bobby Brown. “I don’t think we lacked on anything, from the fashion to the videos to the style of music. We sort of paid homage to all of the major stars of that time,” Hudson says. She recorded the track with Nineties hip-hopper Mase, with an accompanying music video that pays homage to the lo-fi video for iconic Nineties hit “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men.
“I was 15 in the Nineties, and a huge fan of Mase as well,” Hudson says. “To be able to go back in that time and put together an idea of what I would have been [like] as an artist in the Nineties, and then to work with some of the top artists of the Nineties — to have Mase walk in — I was really losing it,” she gushes. “I wish I could have been part of that [time]. So I got to be part of it, and go back to it [through the film].”
Hudson is actually working in the entertainment biz within the framework of 2017 — and the rest of the year is heavily geared toward working on her upcoming album. She recently finished filming the U.K. version of reality singing TV competition show slash promo tool “The Voice,” on which she was the winning coach.
Although she’s been in the studio writing, she also has her eye on something else.