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Hudson’s pregnancy may unlock ‘Key’

U is eyeing a mid-March or early-April start date for pic

Following Kate Hudson’s announcement that she and rocker husband Chris Robinson are expecting the birth of their first child early next year, Universal is planning to push back production on thriller “Skeleton Key,” in which Hudson is set to star, from September to next spring. With Hudson due to give birth in January, U is eyeing a mid-March or early-April start date. A spokesman for Hudson said the actress is “in conversations” about rescheduling the movie. A U spokesman had no comment.

The “Skeleton Key” role would be a break from the romantic comedy fare for which Hudson has normally been cast.

Set in New Orleans, story follows a young woman (Hudson) who begins to experience of spooky things in the home of the elderly couple for whom she’s caring. Hudson’s inked a $7 million deal to appear in the pic.

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“The Ring” scribe Ehren Kruger penned “Skeleton Key,” and Iain Softley (“K-Pax”) is attached to direct.

Hudson’s stock went up following the February domestic release of Paramount’s “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” which has grossed $159 million worldwide to date.

The actress’s latest pic, romantic comedy “Alex & Emma,” opened to a disappointing $6.2 million this past weekend. She next appears in Merchant-Ivory romantic comedy “Le Divorce.”