We were all assembled in a large hall. It was the wrong shape - longer than it was wide - and the small stage was only about half a foot [fifteen centimetres] off the floor. However, in a nice touch there was a large Xena-style Chakram at the back of the stage, through which the guests entered.
Hudson's appearance is preceeded by a personalised video on the big screen - Hate Xena ... but love Callisto. She is announced by Sean Harry [note - for those of you who don't know, her name is pronounced Like]. Then, Hudson climbs onto the stage ...
[applause as Hudson enters]
Hi. Thank you.
So I'm back. And you're back. [Hudson moves back and forth on the stage striking a variety of poses]
So what are we going to do?
Sword fight? Mmm. You're all pretty quiet, like you're waiting for something. Waiting for me to turn into something else, huh?
How many boyfriends have you killed since last time?
The same one over and over and over.
Do I look like a caged lion? Do you have any questions? Do you want to talk to me, to play with me?
Or do you just want to watch me? See, I'm walking and talking!
Hudson, do you prefer your hair short or long?
Did you guys hear that? [puts on an upper-class English accent] Do you prefer your hair short or long?
Depends on the day. I prefer long, but when I cut it off, short! Does that help? Are you satiated?
Hudson, how difficult was it for you to play Xena when Lucy did her pelvis
in? How did that feel?
I planned it! I was there, hiding in the bushes. Can you all hear at the back?
It's going to be a long day. She asked - I'm just having such a bizarre time right now, like where am I and what am I doing, standing in front of several hundred people, talking about nothing? She asked me if it was difficult to play Xena. Yes. It was difficult just because it's someone else's character. And that means you have to study them, you can't add to it from yourself. And she's so much more sedate than I am, and my character. So we both had a little bit of a difficult time. I loved watching her play Callisto though, Callisto is such fun to play. Where else can you be insane and get paid for it?
How did you like the episode 'Eve'?
I'm like, 'shall I lie?' To be honest with you, I just recently watched all my episodes, so I'd have some idea what to talk about. But I've never seen the whole of 'Eve', so I don't know, I can't answer that. I don't watch much TV at all.
[Simon, the same guy that asked the first question now has the microphone again]
Is this about my hair? [Simon was very nervous and umm'd and err'd a lot in the question.]
It says in the booklets we get with the registration ...
You know, why don't you come up here? You're a quiet one. You're all quiet! I bet you were't quiet last night at the disco.
In the programme, it talks about what you've been doing yoga and teaching,
when you're not acting, and I was wondering just how qualified you are?
[Simon stopped just short of asking whether she was a real yoga teacher!]
Would you like to find out?
Of course he would!
You want to try it? You'll do it for the audience? Get down on your hands and knees.
[cheers and applause!]
No, that's your elbows. Curl your toes under. [Simon does something else. In all fairness, he probably didn't know what day it was, being under the Haze, and on stage in front of everyone laughing.]
No, toes. Where are your toes? Curl them under, onto the floor. [Simon crosses his ankles.]
No, that's crossing your legs. Now push your butt up to the sky.
There you go. Tuck your head in. Look at your hands. There's your hands.
Push your butt up to the sky and push the floor with your hands so you're
bringing your butt this way.
[Hudson gives up and grabs his belt, yanking him up and back, so he's in the
downward-facing dog posture. He looks pretty uncomfortable.]
Breathe. [Hudson then leaves him there!]
Any other questions? [waits a few seconds]
There see, I'm qualified. You may sit down.
Ok, I feel better now. We'll get on.
How was it playing Liz Friedman?
Can you scream?
What..I will, just hold on a minute darling. This man in the front is asking a question. I'll be right with you.
It was fun, a little neurotic, smoked too much. He asked me what it was like playing Liz Friedman. Not as fun as Callisto.
Wasn't it over-acted?
It was supposed to be over-acted darling!
What makes you prefer to play a psychotic bitch.
My upbringing. But she's happy, she's a happy psychotic bitch. Always smiling! Especially after she's killed someone.
What were you playing in Chill Factor?
Surprise, surprise, another bad guy.
What have you been up to since the last time I saw you?
Trouble. And now the karma is all coming back to me in the form of six hundred people. I've done a lot of yoga, in fact. Where's my yoga boy? I've done a teachers training with a company in Santa Barbara. You probably don't want to know, but I'll tell you anyway.. I did a Kundalini yoga teachers training and a prenatal/postnatal and a meditation class and a yoga retreat. And I killed many small families!
So, come on silent one!
How horrible was the makeup in the demon costume?
I quite enjoyed it! No, putting on the makeup was about 3-4 hours in the morning, and taking it off was about 2. But I really enjoyed it, it was a lot of fun. Probably one of my favourite Callisto episodes. Do you think that was overacting?
Can you scream yet? Please?
I will, I need to have more questions first to build up to it. But you have to do it with me, ok? You'll come up on-stage and do it. I'll hold the microphone. Yes you will.
What was your question? No, you. [inaudible]
You guys didn't hear that in the back, did you? Frustrating isn't it? I'll deal with it. Sean? Where's Sean Harry (the convention organiser)? I'll get another microphone.
Did Xena pay you to kill Gabrielle's husband?
Hudson - No ... Not with money ...
If you have a question, why don't you come up here?
[indicates a space in the front,
to save the tech crew from running back and forth with the mikes.]
You talk into this part. I had that problem too for a while.
Whats your acting future going to be like?
I don't know, I really don't. I did a film last year American Lover and that's the last thing I've done. I've been doing more spiritual things. I know that's boring for you.
[young girl] What's your favourite episode?
My favourite episode would be...when I became a god! And my favourite character...umm.. I don't have a favourite character. Sorry.
What part of you is Callisto, I mean what part do you retain when you've
Umm...I'm going to rearrange the furniture since its not feng shui. I would say that you can't really play a character without being it. I understand her, I get the rage, I get the angst. I think when I started playing the character I had a lot more of that than I do now, actually. If I had to play Callisto now, it wouldn't be quite the same as when I played it a couple of years ago. Umm, a lot of it is in me...not the extremes, I mean you can't go round killing people or hurting them. So yes.
You're welcome. Hi.
Did you like New Zealand?
Fascinating. It was really interesting. I was in New Zealand, and the people were really nice, and you could take your shoes off to go to the supermarket - [explains to the audience] she [the questioner] has her shoes off. It was a good experience.
I'd just like to know, how did you prepare for the Callisto and Gabrielle
campfire scene or did you just go for it?
Did you understand my accent?
Oh yes, I understood. I just needed to filter it..takes a while. I think, have you ever been in a big rage? You're English, you're never in a rage! Say you're in a rage, right? And someone's really sweet while you're raging? What's your response? Yes, you're going to have some aggression towards them. Callisto really doesn't understand Gabrielle at all, but she loves to play with her emotions, because she's so sensitive.
Hi ... Am I doing this right? [He couldn't hear any difference,
so he probably wondered if he was holding the mike too far away.]
Yes, you're talking in the right end.
After last year's convention, you travelled round Europe. What were you're
favourite towns and sights?
[Long pause as Hudson just sits back and stares at the questioner. Perhaps she was trying to intimidate him, or make him feel uncomfortable, but he wasn't going to take anything.]
Don't look at me like that, it's not that hard a question!
I'm sorry, that was really rude. I went to Paris, that's the only town I went to, and it was lovely. The people..that's not true, I tell a lie, it was cold. Yeah.
No difference to London then!
[Sean Harry then brought a dress and signed poster onto the stage.]
Sean: Hudson, could you tell us a little about the Ellis Foundation? I believe we've got somebody else to help us too.
[Ted Raimi walks on to the stage]
Ted: Well, I'm Hudson Leick. I look a lot better in the morning though. What'd you say? Now I don't understand why people just pay to watch me like this, I don't get it. Now we're doing is a charity, right. It's actually the Ted Raimi Fund. If you'll just make your cheques payable to unemployed actors.
Ok. The Ellis Foundation. James W Ellis died of cancer, and he has a fund that all of the money, 100% of the money goes to kids with cancer.
Hudson: and Ted Raimi
Ted: Yes, and Ted Raimi, or parents with cancer that can't afford to keep their kids in school. So that's what its for, and we've raised a lot of money so far, at every convention we've come to.
I'm only here to give my support and because she does so much good, and she auctions off some of her personal garments! Sometimes unmentionable!
Hudson: Today we're going to be auctioning Ted's underwear! I know you all want it!
Ted: Normally I have to pay people to take my underwear, not the other way round.
Hudson: Oh, I forgot! No, today, we have the dress that I wore last year!
Ted: Look at that.
[This was the zebra striped dress worn on the Saturday at the Y2K Convention.]
Hudson: I think Ted would look very nice, don't you think? Wouldn't you like to see that?
Hudson: Ted, would you model that for us?
Ted: I, uh..
Hudson: You go back stage and put it on.
Ted: For charity...ok.
[Sean Harry told us a little about some of the other things that would be auctioned tomorrow while Ted was changing.]
Hudson: Alright then. I feel like I'm going to wake up any moment. This is my mermaid on crack picture, which we're going to auction off. Are you ready to see it?
[This is a poster of Hudson in Orlando, wearing a light green skirt and green butterfly across her torso, little more than a bikini.]
Hudson: It's not as nice as Ted in a dress.
Ted: You can say that again!
Hudson: It was a bad hair day. Ted are you ready?
Ted: Ready as I can be!
Hudson: Do you feel pretty?
Ted: I do!
Hudson: Do you need makeup?
Ted: No, I don't think so.
Hudson: Ok, going for the au naturelle look. Are you guys ready?
[Screams, laughs and applause as Ted, wearing the dress, walks back on stage.]
Ted: I know drag queens that don't look this good! Now normally, with Hudson wearing it, this would go for hundreds. I'll take ten bucks!
Hudson: It's ok, Ted, they're not scared. In fact, some of the men are very excited.
[Ted goes back and takes the dress off.]
Ted: That was the most frightening thing I've ever done in my life. I know, I know, it's off.
Ted: But truthfully, now you can have it, knowing that both I and Hudson were wearing it. Which will lower the price considerably.
Hudson: Which men in the audience are thinking 'I'd look better in that dress than Ted.' You need this dress.
The bidding process was a little slow. They paused briefly to show a video that had been made by one of the people helped by the Ellis Foundation.
Thomas offered the highest bid, and Ted brought him up on stage to rub the microphone against the dress Hudson was wearing!
[The dress went eventually for STLG 450.]
[The poster was left 'til the next day. Hudson then auctioned the silver dress she was wearing, pressing herself up closely to Ted to let people imagine how it would look if Ted was wearing it! Then she thought of getting Sean Harry to model it. She wore Sean's clothes and looked really good in them. Ted entertained the crowd while they were swapping hands, by getting some people on stage and singing the Joxer song. This dress went for STLG 500!]
Hudson: Do we have any more questions?
I just wondered, now that you're having a tree planted in South London,
have you ever had any other surreal gifts?
That was a beautiful gift, someone buying a tree in my name. I've had someone, every Sunday, say a prayer for me, for a full year. Sean has money in his pockets! Anyone want it?
Hi Hudson, how you doing? One of my favourite episodes was the musical
episode "Bitter Suite". Was that your actual voice?
Do you have any musical talent at all?
Oh, I've got his room key as well..if anyone wants to know, he's in room 2097. If you have any enquiries or problems or anything, late at night, it doesn't matter, just go ahead. I sense some payback coming!
I've got to go now. I want to thank you all for coming, I hope you're having a good time. I'll see you later tonight. So thank you, and thank you for your charity too, it's really appreciated.
Hudson climbs on to the stage and looks around.
Hudson - Hi. You guys having a good day? You having fun?
Hudson - What do you want to do?
Hudson - You want to do me?
[stunned silence for that to sink in, then the audience goes wild.]
I think I'd be rather tired! It would take some time!
The little girls [at the front] are looking puzzled... they're playing with me [she explained to the children]. Right?
So. You're going to be all polite and English.
[One of the audience made a comment about how revealing her outfit was, and Hudson walked into the audience and talked to her a bit, but I couldn't hear this bit.]
So what do you want to talk about?
My favourite subject.
I know, 'cause I'm so shy and quiet and demure. Inward. Go ahead. Talk to me.
Hi. Me again.
Its just me and you isn't it? None of this really exists, its still me and you in the crazy house.
These people talk to me.
They do? Free yourself! Free!
You're shedding. [Her boa was losing feathers everywhere.]
I am. You want to know something funny? I tried this once. [She put a feather in her mouth].
Woman eats bird.
Oh yeah, that means something different over here.
Hudson, I'd just like to know, are you going to come back to the
last Starfury next year. 'Cause we all love you.
Thank you very much but I don't think so.
[Audience sighs. However, weeks after the Con it was announced that Hudson will be at Starfury 2002!]
But you know what? You can all come to America!
What? Yeah, my treat! 'Cause you're all imaginary anyway! Just exist in my head.
You like playing nuts and bad girls.
Do not! Kidding!
Do you ever fancy a different kind of role?
What else is there? Umm, well, you know whats strange about my career and the acting world? I either play really bad, or I play angels. A normal human being would be interesting, but then, I wouldn't have any reference point for that, would I? I'm not that good an actor.
Oh thank you.
Ok. You may leave.
Hello strange man.
Tony! [British accent] It's Tony! Hello Tony.
Tony: You mentioned yesterday a spiritual search of some kind,
but didn't expand on it, saying people weren't interested. But I was.
You're trapped like rats! What do you want to hear?
Tony: Well, basically, what did you mean, spiritual search?
A conventional religion, or outside of that?
No it's...whatever frees me from myself. No, I'm not Hare Krishna. Though I don't have anything against any religion. Cause I think they're all just one path to freedom ... freedom from suffering and all.
Tony: Thank you. That answers my question.
You're welcome. It's funny for me to be talking like that when I'm dressed up like this. I'm thinking 'Where am I?'
Very basic question. Do you prefer British or American conventions?
Um...Whatever I'm at, I prefer, 'cause then the moments gone, and that's all you've got. Americans are louder, English people are so polite. And they're nice to hug! Americans are nice to hug too. Both. It's great to come over though, it's so beautiful here.
Have any English people here been to the States? It's ugly there. The landscapes beautiful, I don't mean that, but our buildings ... it's not the same. No? You like 'em?
[something.] Did yoga help you with that, or was it always there?
I think I've always been a ham, if that's what you mean. But I think yoga and meditation and all those things really help to get outside the ego and jealousy and just thinking about yourself all the time, 'cause that's what really gets me. And when I have it, boy do I have it! So when I can get outside being really selfish and self-centred it frees me. This is just getting weirder and weirder. Must be you.
Who are you calling weird?
Xena has lots of action scenes, lots of fight sequences.
Does drama school prepare you for that,
or was it something you learn as you go along?
Does it prepare you..yes, it does! I went to drama school for two years, and we did combat fighting, and fencing and dancing. But there were no shows like Xena when I was in acting school, so in some ways it didn't, but it was so much fun, pure playing like little kids.
Are you guys breathing out there?
We breathe through your noses.
Oh, in America we're like, [pants heavily through her mouth.]
My friend Anita talks like this...She's from New York. She loves crowds. Hi Anita. It's her scholarship.
Why is your first name Hudson, like the river?
And your second name Leick, in Belgian, means 'dead body'!
How appropriate! Isn't that nice?
Hudson was my grandmother's maiden name on my father's side, and my middle name. My first name's Heidi. Heidi Hudson Leick, that's my full name. I have no idea why Leick is our surname. Well ok, I have some idea!
What sort of role would you like to play next?
Why don't you come up here?
Ok. I think I'd like to play a drug addict.
Yeah I would.
But that's something you've already done.
You wouldn't like something more challenging?
A drug addict's not challenging?
But not for you!
Something like the role Angelina Jolie played in 'Girl Interrupted'.
Wasn't she brilliant in that?
Absolutely. Wouldn't you like to do something like that?
Yeah, anything like that. But I think that's why I don't get cast as the girl next door. 'Hi Joe! Do ya wanna have a hamburger...and some apple pie! Iiiieeeeyayayaya!'
I'm curious... I know you've travelled quite a lot of your career,
and you said last year that you basically chose roles based on where they are,
so you could go someplace different.
I've done a bit of travelling and found that it mainly involves spending a
lot of time in hotels or waiting at airports,
and I was wondering if you enjoy that or do you prefer to be at home.
I can't repeat that lot!
Do I like hotels, is that your question?
Do you like spending time in hotels, or do you like being at home?
I love travelling, and I love being at home. Travelling can be pretty hard on you, after a while. But also good fun, you meet so many different people. Do you travel?
Do you like it?
Same as you, I enjoy getting around and meeting people, but sometimes it can be tiring.
Hi. You always dress well at conventions...
how do you decide what to wear?
I just walk through the mall, and pick up dresses and try them on. This outfit - Moulin Rouge hasn't come here yet, has it? Ok. Well, I loved that movie. And I saw the costume, and as a little girl, I loved dressing up, it was so much fun. So I put this together after that. The other one, yesterday, I just ran into it. It's creative, like painting in a way.
Ok, let's try something. You wanna try something?
[I was thinking 'No, no!' - I could see the look in her eyes!]
Just for fun. But you're going to try it, right?
You're going to all scream! As loud as you can. I know you're English and its hard. Are you willing?
That was lame. Are you willing?
Ok. So, it's got to come from here. [indicates her stomach] Plug your ears if you're worried about the person next to you. Do it! Really try it!
You're going to do this, right? You're not just bullsh*tting me? Ok? 'Cause I'm going to watch all of you, and those of you that don't do it I'm going to bring on stage! [You big bully!] Inhale. 1. Don't wait for me either, I can see you all waiting.
3 [Everyone screams!]
Did that feel good? Good, now let's do it again. Ready? Let it out! Who cares what the person next to you thinks? Who care? Life's too short, right? Let go of your mind and ego, what you think you should be doing. Ok? Ready? Get excited!
[Everyone screams again!]
Did that feel good? So now you can see why I like playing that character. Cause it feels good! Right Larry? You like screaming?
I'm gonna go round each of you! You're looking round, like 'Who screamed?' 'Did they hear me?' [Hudson was really excited now, and started stamping her heels on the stage. When she reached the crescendo, a single person let out a really impressive scream. Obviously not a Brit.]
Yeah! Right on Larry! Give it up baby! Way to go!
Ok, you want me to go? We're all going to be kicked outta the hotel. I'm like 'Freedom! Freedom!'. Outside they're going 'Get the priests out of the hotel! Kids and families first!' Without the microphone, and when I'm done you guys pick it up, ok? Oh, this is fun! Ok. [Hudson screams, and we all immediately follow!]
Wasn't that good? I feel better now. I wanna read you something, and it's a little touchy, and some of you will think its really stupid. And that's ok.
I can just talk like this [she yells] THE WAY WE DO AT HOME! MOM!
Woa! Mom, you've changed! Mommy, you're looking really hot.
Don't go there.
That would be very bad. [Karl Urban walks onto the stage at this point.]
Karl hasn't screamed right? We all did it. And in my dress! We're gonna go backstage and get changed. Someone take the stage, unless you all want to come up here and scream. Anita, come on up and talk about the foundation.
Come on! Carsen, you come up here too! This is one of my best friends Carsen, she did my make-up this weekend. [Carsen coaxes Anita, a step at a time, onto the stage. Audience applause.].
Anita: One thing I would like to do, James W Ellis is a scholarship in the States, but cancer is international. Every time I do a convention Hudson donates one of her dresses, so in her name, and in Sean's name, who allowed me to be here, I'd like to give a little bit back to England. So some portion of the money that we're raising here today is going to go to a local cancer hospice.
Ann: Hi, I'm Ann, some of you already know me from the Xenafest up in Leicester. Some of this money is going to the cancer hospice in Leamington. This charity is very important to us and we're very grateful to Anita and Hudson for assisting us, and we hope you'll be very generous. Thank you.
Anita: Internationally, or in your neighbourhood, anything that you can do, anything to help a stranger, just do it and you'll feel so good once its over. Thank you so much.
[Hudson comes back on stage, wearing Karl's t-shirt,
which is even shorter than the dress was, and his baseball cap.
Karl can't wear the dress, it's just hanging by the neck in front of him
and doesn't cover his underwear. You've seen the photos, right?]
What's your deal? What's wrong? [She realises just how the t-shirt rides up if she moves her arms up.]
Ok. Karl looks really pretty. You want to see him?
'Cause you really want that dress, right?
Before Karl comes out, let's start the bidding. [Again, I'll skip over the repeated 'We have x amount. Who'll give me y?' Karl came onstage at STLG 300 and stood on the table and screamed. The dress eventually went for STLG 400.]
Ok, so this is something different for English conventions. I've never ever done this before, and I can't imagine the guys have either. At least not that they'll admit to in public!
These are trashy pictures of me. Look, I'm wearing my own clothes. Oh right, mermaid on crack. How about a bid? We'll start with this one. [bidding. Mike says something to Hudson. Hudson imitates Mike's mid-western drawl.]
Ok, these two will never ever be made like this again. They are one of a kind, and they are signed by the woman lying down on the table, who I know personally. Intimately. I is her. [The first poster (red dress) went for STLG 200. Hudson commented that she was not meant to sell pictures of herself. The mermaid on crack was next, which went for STLG 140. Lastly, a picture of Kevin Sorbo and Hudson went for STLG 150.]
Thank you. Shall I change into my dress?
No? Is it ok like this?
Good thing I'm wearing knickers, huh? Or not. Ok. I'm going to read my poem.
Ok, you alright? You breathing? Hi. Hi. I'm going to read you something that I thought was really beautiful.
I'm not going to ask any more money of you. You can breathe now. I totally love this poem, and you may think it's sappy and stupid. That's fine. But maybe it will touch your heart, 'cause it touched mine. Try closing your eyes while I read it. [Regardless of your opinion of the poem, if you want to know what Hudson is really like, it sums up pretty well where Hudson is coming from and who she is.]
Thank you very much. [She leaves the stage, to much applause.]
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