celebrity stock photos - Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway

Who takes longer to get dressed? That's a no-brainer when the choice lies between Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway, the young actresses who play best friends turned battling bridezillas in "Bride Wars," which arrives in theaters today. When the question is posed during an interview with the leading ladies, Hudson instantly turns to Hathaway, who looks guilty as charged. "Yes, it's true," says Hathaway, best known as the star of "The Devil Wears Prada" and now "Rachel Getting Married," with self-recognition flashing through her large brown eyes. "I find the outfit, then I'm literally one step from the door and I'll look down and something will catch my eye and I will have to go back and start from scratch. It's not even for me that the results are so great. I just have to find the thing that I'm comfortable with or I'm going to be a basket case all day. I need to know that I've covered all my bases to go out, and Kate is . . .". "I'll walk out half-naked,' interjects Hudson, who first caught the public imagination nearly a decade ago as a trippy groupie in "Almost Famous." "I have this thing: If it takes me longer than 10 minutes to get dressed, I'm not going anywhere. I'm not in the mood," says Hudson. "I'm going to stay in bed and I'm going to watch television and I'm going to walk around the house half-naked because I just don't want clothes on."

Perched side by side on a fancy hotel room couch, the duo are giddy and chatty, so much so that they talk over each other, and to each other, as they discuss their new movie and related tangents -- boys, clothes, what makes a movie star and weddings. Periodically, Hudson bursts into song -- her whole life appears to have some internal soundtrack, and she could definitely give any jukebox a run for its money. Their outfits more than illustrate their perspectives on dressing, and perhaps on life. The 26-year-old Hathaway is crisp in a black structured sheath, her hair pulled back tight in a soignée ponytail to reveal the luminous white skin and the famed doe eyes. Hudson, 29, is loose and sun-kissed and Californian, wearing what appears to be a blue silk shorts jumpsuit, and unconsciously flipping her long, blond tresses. Both wear stilettos but no stockings.

Just us girls

While weddings are a familiar trope to Hollywood comedies, spawning such films as "Wedding Crashers," "The Wedding Planner" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Bride Wars" is not so much about the romance between a man and a woman. It's a female buddy picture, a counterpoint to the "bromance" films that have swept Hollywood recently, the endless stream of male bonding tales like "Superbad," "Role Models," "Stepbrothers" and "Pineapple Express."

Such is the state of opportunities for young actresses in Hollywood that neither Hudson or Hathaway (whose collective resume includes such hits as "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" and the "Princess Diaries" movies) has ever starred in a film opposite a female peer.

"One thing we were drawn to is it's a story about friendship," says Hathaway. "To actually have the story line between two women was just . . . so refreshing. Two movies I grew up loving were 'Romy and Michele's High School Reunion' and 'Muriel's Wedding.' I loved those movies, and it occurred to me -- I haven't been doing this very long and I don't mean to be stepping up on a soapbox or anything -- but I've read a lot of different scripts since I've become an actress and I've never come across a female buddy comedy before. Never."

"It's really rare," agrees Hudson. "Female comedies, female-driven movies are hard to get made."

"Sex in the City," as they point out, started on the small screen, where women's relationships -- in their many incarnations on shows as variant as "Golden Girls," "Desperate Housewives" and "Grey's Anatomy" -- have long made ratings soar. Taking a page from her mom, Goldie Hawn, who started one of the first actress-run production companies, Hudson is also a producer on this film and was eager to get it made. She also helped bring Hathaway on board. In the film, Hudson plays the super Type-A Liv, the bossy corporate litigator, while Hathaway dons the part of Emma, the vulnerable, less confident schoolteacher.

It's an opposites-attract relationship, and their real-life chemistry evokes a similar vibe, though they are both world-class talkers.

"Annie will talk about her character," Hudson says, often delving deep into some back story that she's concocted for Emma, like the time their characters were "in New Jersey in a mall. You're in some weird place that her character has been to, which is not in the script, which is not in the movie."

By contrast, Hudson starts out talking about their characters and ends up relating it to a "personal story, and I'll keep talking. Somebody asks us a question, and then we'll both keep talking till someone tells us to stop."

Hathaway, who's been laughing through Hudson's spiel, has a succinct rejoinder: "Yes."

Also, Hudson has actually planned a wedding before, when she married her ex-husband, rocker Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, on New Year's Eve 2000 in Aspen, Colo. And she found out she was nominated for a Golden Globe for "Almost Famous" just days before. "I remember nobody cared." She pauses, then breaks out laughing. "Just kidding," she says.

Of her wedding planning, she says: "I only felt stressed one time, when I was doing 'Saturday Night Live,' and I was saying to my friend, I started complaining how Chris wasn't helping me with anything and my mom was driving me nuts. Then you realize that's just the nature of being stressed out. It's not them. It's you because you want to be perfect for everybody."

"How long were you engaged?" asks Hathaway.

"Two seconds. We got married after nine months, and engaged after 4 1/2 ," says Hudson, whose marriage to Robinson lasted 7 1/2 years but ended in 2007. "He's still there."

"I love the way you talk about him," says Hathaway. "You talk about him like he's your best friend."

"It's hard. Marriage is work and divorce is work, and it always takes more work to not like somebody to keep that up," says Hudson.

Hathaway was famously involved in a long-term relationship with Italian businessman Raffaello Follieri, which imploded last summer around the time Follieri was arrested and later convicted of fraud.

Hathaway insists that she's never given much thought to the kind of wedding she'd like, though when pressed, she says, "knowing me, I'd like it to be outdoors. I imagine trees and tents, and very, very laid back, probably pretty small and pretty intimate I'd want people that I loved and trusted. I think I should find the guy first."

"I think Anne would have a 'Midsummer Night's Dream' wedding, really pretty and woodsy, ethereal," interjects Hudson.

"Any sign of hanging tulle, you'll be like 'Ha.' Any fairy swirl, you'll be like 'I told you so.' " says Hathaway, chortling. "It feels far away regardless. It's been a lot of lessons recently and not enough life. I feel like I'm in a fascinating moment where everything is a lesson. I want to do that alone," she says. Rather than pursue new relationships, "I want to delve more deeply into the ones I already have, the people I know and trust, and delve more deeply into myself."

Life beyond dates

That's the reality underlying the film "Bride Wars." Two of the most eligible women on the planet are without steady guys for the moment. By choice.

"For the first time of my life, for a bit of a stretch, I've been totally without that distraction," says Hudson, who admittedly loves being in a relationship and has been romantically linked by the tabloids to Owen Wilson and Lance Armstrong. "I'd never recognized what I was, alone as an adult . . .And it's nice to discover that about yourself."

Hathaway relates. "I am that girl who goes off with the guy and then looks back and goes, 'I have all these other relationships. Why did I neglect them?' The concept of always needing to be together -- that's such bad advice. You need to keep your sense of self, your life, your background, your history."

"That's what our movie is about," says Hudson.

"Exactly," says Hathaway.

"You get carried away by all these things, the relationships, the wedding, the dreams," says Hudson. "And then suddenly, you go, 'Wait a minute, I need my girlfriends!' "

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