Mommyish On The Set Of What To Expect When You’re Expecting: Fake Baby Bumps Galore
Last fall, I was invited to the set of What To Expect When You’re Expecting, a new film starring Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, and Brooklyn Decker. The experience provided a look into the most anticipated film of 2012 – at least in the parenting blogosphere.
As I stood at the back of the auditorium, I was told by surrounding production assistants to keep my notepad down as my scribbling might distract Elizabeth Banks. The 30 Rock star was doing her umpteenth run through of a monologue bemoaning her terrible pregnancy — the weight of her fake baby bump clearly wearing on the actress. In my quick interview with the actress during a break from shooting, she had mentioned that the pregnancy suit weighed 16 pounds.
My recollection of Elizabeth from that September morning is quite different from the glossy, photo-shopped promotional posters that were released last week. The actress was hardly channeling the serene, pearls-clad figure that proudly displays her bump in a Betty Draper-inspired pink maternity dress. Wading over the stage in a listless ramble about the downside of pregnancy, she appeared both frazzled and uncomfortable.
Upon arriving at the shoot location in Georgia, the publicist informed me that I’d be sitting in on an important scene for Elizabeth’s character, Wendy. After establishing her own baby boutique and becoming a big advocate for breastfeeding, Wendy finally conceives. But as thrilled as the parenting guru is to be with child, her pregnancy is much less glow-inducing than she had hoped for. Her extreme discomfort and hormonal fluctuations make her question the entire propaganda of parenting advertising.
Scores of ladies were seated in the auditorium with big bellies looking upon the exasperated character of Elizabeth. Getting up between takes and waddling to and from the food services counter, their uniformed bumps were suspect. Even to the Mommyish eye it was unclear which actresses were carrying babies or body suits. Small children sat on the laps of actresses, patiently eyeing the floor between takes with their actual parents in the next room, watching their little ones on monitors. A man in a black t-shirt had a quick word with Elizabeth as she bent down with her big belly. An assistant on set told me the man was the director, Kirk Jones. [tagbox tag=”What To Expect When You’re Expecting”]
Trying to keep out of the way of toddlers, tummies and assistants with blaring walkie-talkies, I watched Elizabeth address the crowd of expectant mothers in a scene of humorous exasperation. Confronted with fans and other expecting mothers who had come to see the boutique owner in an Atlanta baby expo, Elizabeth’s character Wendy forgets to print out her speech thanks to “baby brain.” At a loss for words, she eventually takes the microphone and sounds off about hemorrhoids, cankles and that coveted glow achieved by the ladies on the covers of parenting magazines.
The nervous presenter who had previously addressed the room as “ladies and babies” attempted to interrupt the mommy confessional by wrestling the microphone free from Wendy. But Wendy is not finished and drops the microphone to the floor before undoing her itchy pregnancy bra. After she pulled the wad of beige from her dress with a cry of relief, she placed the massive contraption on her head as she lamented the size of her breasts. She told the “ladies and babies” that her nipples were so big, you could currently see them on Google Earth.
Wendy then admitted to a room full of ardent followers that after everything both she and her body have been through, she has no intention of breastfeeding after all. She kicked off her wedges in discomfort and was eventually escorted from the stage, her hands to her lower back for support.
The scene continued as Elizabeth brought new humor and emphasis to different words, eventually taking her character’s anguish a bit too far as when she hits the line about the glowing pregnant woman in advertisements, she delivered curtly, “Who the fuck does that bitch think she is?” Elizabeth quickly scolded herself before pausing mid-step, breaking character. The extras and crew all chuckled as she said into the microphone, “I want to say ‘fuck’ but I can’t. Once more for the kids.”
She scuttled back to her previous spot on stage, adding playfully “Thank God its digital! Let’s take it from ‘hemorrhoids.'”
She briefly adjusting her fake bump before beginning the next take, the extras still giggling.
Stay tuned this week for our continued coverage from the set of ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting.’