The stars of What To Expect When You're Expecting descended on London earlier this week to promote the new pregnancy comedy.
Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison, Rodrigo Santoro, Chace Crawford and Anna Kendrick settled into the Soho Hotel to discuss the movie.
- This must be one of the first times that a self-help manual has been made into a feature film so what was it about Shauna Cross and Heather Hach’s script that hooked you? What were you expecting? And in what way did it deliver?
Rodrigo Santoro: I really did like the storyline of my character but when I read it I didn’t really know which character that had in mind for me. But I really did like the storyline of Alex because I have seen people adopting before so I thought it would be interesting to put myself in that position and really get to know more about it.
Also I think the character of Alex represents so many guys all over the world who are afraid to commit to this life changing experience and so that was really attractive to me.
Matthew Morrison: I actually didn’t like the script (laughs). I got to dance with Cameron Diaz in the movie and that did it for me and I had a good time doing the movie.
This is a self help book and it took a very scientific approach to things but this script made it like a real life experience it was a human experience so I thought that was really great how they did it.
Cameron Diaz: At first I thought how are they going to marry this very scientific book into stories, how are they going to do it? But I thought they did it very gracefully and very well with humour.
The story really connected well, it was funny and it felt real and so I wanted to be a part of telling that story.
Chace Crawford: I read it and we had the more heartfelt story and she (Anna Kendrick) cast and I went to do a chemistry read and that was it - I needed a job. No it was great and we all shot for two or three weeks and that was it.
Anna Kendrick: I was a little bit surprised as I thought I knew what the script was going to be when I started reading it so I was pleasantly surprised that they went some of the places that they did, particularly with our story line.
I thought it was very candid and very brave to discuss some of the things that come up in such an unexpected situation. I just thought it was surprising that what is essentially a light film would go to those places and I just thought that that was very interesting.
- Cameron can you tell us about your experience of being ‘pregnant’ what was it like having the bump? Did that make you broody or did in in fact put you off having children?
Cameron: The prosthetic was really amazing it was a piece of art, a sculpture. It was cast on a moulding on my body and then it was sculpted so that it looked like it really belonged to my body and that is why it was so convincing.
Having adhered to your body in Atlanta, Georgia during August makes it quite swampy so that was really fun. I am nearly forty years old so I didn’t have to do a movie to inform me how I felt about children as I know already.
I have been an auntie for fifteen years; I have three nieces and a nephew and I have many man children around me, I am part of the village that raise many children. I love them all and I welcome into my life.
I want my own family when it is right for me however it may come; if it be through my own body, adopt a child or if I have a partner who has a child I will welcome children in my life always and I will be excited when it happen.
- There are lots of babies in the movie, particularly towards the end, so how did they behave? Were there some that made you think ‘never again’ and were there others that you fell in love with?
Rodrigo: The kids were great actually and they behaved very well. We had a great wrangler on set and she had this hybrid toy called the mesmeriser and whenever they would think about crying she would come in and shake the toy and they didn’t make a sound.
It was something really incredible and I don’t know what it was but I said to her ‘you should sell it because it was amazing’. But they were really lovely and very easy to work with.
- Cameron: But what was it like in the park with all those kids?
Rodrigo: That was interesting. It was really really hot, we were shooting in Atlanta, and we were sweating like crazy. The babies would be resting and then when we were going to start the shoot they would bring them in and we had to shoot very fast, we had about and a half with them every day.
So we would shoot with them to get all the coverage for the babies and then we would shoot the rest of the scene with close up of the actors when we didn’t need the babies anymore. They were taken care of.
Matthew Morrison: I think for us we had fourteen day old babies on set for the birthing scene and there are very strict rules for that, I think it was about fifteen minutes at a time…
Cameron: I think it was less than think I think it was about half that. It was actually when they were wet, because they were fourteen days old, they would put this gelatine on it so when they came to you they were all slippery - we had a little catchment underneath just in case.
But they would be literally looking at their watches and as soon as time was up they would be in and take the baby straight out and swaddle it and get it warm.
Matthew: This baby is going to be a star I am telling you. It came out and it was so quiet during the whole birthing scene and then when it was being presented it started crying on queue.
Cameron: It was awesome.
- You all had amazing chemistry with the other half in the film so did you all hang out on set?
Anna Kendrick: We didn’t hang out.
Chace Crawford: Yeah we hate each other, I can’t even stand her.
Anna: Yeah we hung out with ‘The Dude’s Group’, although we didn’t really film scenes with them until the very end. So it was very much about who was in town.
Chace: I hung out with Rodrigo before we started shooting.
Anna: A little bromance.
Chace: Yeah we had a bromance, we went to dinner and it was nice. Everyone knew who you were in the Italian place which was nice.
Cameron: Matt and I shot on our own so we missed out on all that. I saw you (Anna) in the lobby one night and I saw you (Rodrigo) in the gym.
Chace: We did have one scene were I was sat inside the food truck.
Cameron: I had a total meltdown that day. I had low blood sugar, it was hot and I had that baby bump.
Chace: It was so hot that day.
Anna: You butt looked great in that scene.
Cameron: They shot that at a really low angle (laughs).
Rodringo: First of all I really hung out with those guys because we were there for two weeks so we went out to dinner, Chace joined us a couple of times. We just had a blast and those guys were just a blast to work with.
And Jennifer (Lopez) was too, we met for the first time just two days before we started shooting and we had to come up with this amazing chemistry; they are a couple who should be really into each other and so when she decides to adopt a baby we have a dilemma and this is something that is going to break that lifestyle.
So we talked about our back-story of our characters and she just said ’we don’t have time to build all that so let’s just have fun with it’ and it was like that. She is very down to earth and easy to work with.
- The material is universal but what did Kirk Jones bring to it as the director and also as a Brit?
Rodrigo: British sense of humour.
Cameron: What he had to do was the most difficult part of the film and that was to weave all of stories together seamlessly and make them feel that they were relevant and not just because they were all pregnant at the same time.
You needed to be able to go from one story to the next, even if they didn’t have anything to do with each other, and still like you were in the same film and he did that amazingly.
He is doing movie, movie, movie he is shooting five different movies in a period that you would shoot one whole movie in so it was an interesting challenge for him/.
Rodrigo: There was something about him that I particularly enjoyed and that was he was always very open to hear what you had to say or if you wanted to improvise - however he knew exactly what he wanted. He would let free so he could capture fresh stuff but at the same time he knew exactly what he wanted.
Chace: I loved Kirk he was great from day one and he really let us do our thing. We had a nice little rehearsal process and that was fine and then he was like ’let’s get the logistics of the car scene’. He was like ’put her on the bonnet’…
Anna: No, no he said ‘pop her on the bonnet’ and that was a good two minutes of us staring at each other going ‘what are you talking about?’
Chace: Do you mean on the tyre? Or inside the car?
Anna: Is it a sexual thing?
Chace: Once we figured that out it was great.
- Cameron you have talked about children in your life so do you get fed up with being asked the ’why you don’t have children’ question?
I think it’s a funny thing in our society and culture to ask women, particularly women my age, about having children.
I think that this movie really illustrates that when you have a child it really changes your life and in our society we think that we are supposed to have children and a lot of people have kids because they think that is what they are suppose to do and they find out ’wow it really changes your life’.
For me I have always known that it changes your life and I have enjoyed my life and I have really enjoyed living it the way that I have lived it and I haven’t want to change.
So I have never really lived inside the box that everyone wants you to fit inside of and so I think that is why people ask that question as they want to know… they are really uncomfortable about you being outside of the box that they have put themselves in and they want to know ’why are you not in here?’
And it makes them feel uncomfortable about where they are at. We all live differently and I choose to live this way. They ask that question of a woman my age because they are like ‘your clocks are ticking’ ‘your eggs are going to be bad’ but also this film also illustrates that you can have a family any way that you want to; you don’t have to have a family by only having your own child.
There are plenty of children out there in the world who need to be loved. Someone can give birth to a child but they can’t give love to a child and I know that I can give love to a child at anytime even if I can’t give birth to one.
- I believe that Cheryl Cole really had a good time on set so how did you get on with her?
Cameron: We had a blast with her. She was a lot of fun and she brought a lot of energy to the set. She adlibbed a lot of fun stuff and she was totally calm and cool as if that is what she does. I think she was wonderful and we had a good time with her and yes I understood everything that she said (laughs).
Matthew: I come to London a lot and you can’t leave here without seeing her face on a magazine somewhere so it was really great to meet her and experience as a human being. She was so sweet and lovely and a real professional.
- Matthew you are known best for your role in Glee so do you hope that this movie will help people see you as an actor outside of that role?
I know that they won’t (laughs). I won’t lie to you this character was not a crazy stretch or anything like that but I would love to do more stuff that would push me as an actor.
But I would love doing film because I love that there is a beginning a middle and an end and you have one script where you can see where your character begins and ends.
Television is open ended and you don’t know where your character is going to end up. So I really love the process of doing a film and I hope to do a lot more.
-What To Expect When You’re Expecting is released 25th May
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw