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Home | Interviews | Interview: Director Mary Harron and AnnaSophia Robb (The Expecting)

Interview: Director Mary Harron and AnnaSophia Robb (The Expecting)


Quibi presents: The Expecting. Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol, American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page) is a filmmaker and screenwriter. Mary is directing The Expecting starring the talented AnnaSophia Robb (Soul Surfer, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) They took time to talk with Horrornews.net about The Expecting

Hi Mary, it is such an honor to talk with you. Anna, it’s an honor to talk to you also. How did you get involved with The Expecting AnnaSophia and what was it like working with Mary?

AnnaSophia- I loved the script and I auditioned and I was drawn to the struggles that Emma faces in The Expecting, it’s a challenging role and I thought it was a really unique way to tell a story about pregnancy. It made me look at pregnancy completely different. The opportunity to work with Mary was really exciting I wanted to jump on that train, wherever it was going.

Mary, why did you decide to get involved with The Expecting and was it different doing a series versus a film?

Mary- When I get to the script, as I’m reading it, if I start imagining the film in my head, which is something that happens unconsciously. You start just thinking, oh that scene would look like this. That’s just a thing that happens or it doesn’t. It hit my subconscious in a way. It was extremely gripping and that was one of the things about it being divided into episodes. It has constant twists and turns as you’ll find out in the later episodes. I thought it was a strong basis. I had done a limited series before but I had not done something in such short chapters. It’s just a new form.

HNN-From what I’ve seen so far. I’m so excited because Mary, you are directing it. I love the special effects aspect and preparation. How did you get everyone prepared and how did you get AnnaSophia prepared for all the intensity?

Mary- I don’t know if there was any way to prepare AnnaSophia for the intensity of what the actual shooting was like. We talked through it and in a situation like this where an actor is in pretty much every scene. The most important thing is to talk it through, not rehearse it but talk about it. Then you start to rehearse and build it in a practical way.

AnnaSophia- I loved it.

Mary- I think it helped. AnnaSophia kind of started building her character and she decided on the look she wanted and then there was the famous statement of the hair. She had beautiful long hair and had to cut it. Me and the DP cut ours as well, in solidarity. It’s almost like religious or monetary training, it’s like, okay, I’m on this path. It’s tough, the things you have to do in preparation but I think it’s also a part of the intense commitment that she gave.

AnnaSophia, did you have to do anything special to prepare to play Emma?

AnnaSophia- Like, Mary said, it is dark and beautiful script. We were all on the same page mentally. Obviously, cutting my hair, we did that before we started principal photography the day before. I think that definitely felt like a preparation. I watched a bunch of movies. I watched this show on Amazon called, One Born Every Minute and it’s the birthing ward of the hospital. I’d watch episodes of that every night. We shot outside in the woods, in a mental ward. A lot of these environments feel like they made the scenes. Creepy places and that was really helpful.

Mary- The fact that, for Emma’s house, I thought it was quite important. We didn’t shoot anything on a stage, everything was done on location. To be in an actual house was difficult but it felt like Emma’s house. We were filming in the attic and we made it like Emma’s world in a very intense way.

AnnaSophia- Yes, everything was tangible. We filmed near a pool, a working café. It is a horror movie but it feels very grounded and there is something that adds to the level of creepiness. And because Mary directed it, it feels grounded. Everything that you see happening, it is actually happening.

HNN-This is for both of you. From what I’ve seen so far, I always think that houses or locations become characters or a certain part of a film/show. Did you feel that way? The locations sort of become characters.

Mary- Oh yes, I feel in the woods, the woods are very much a character. It has that sort of dark fairytale. We filmed in an old mental hospital which is a series of Victorian buildings outside of Boston. It’s an old mental hospital filled with… not ghosts but horrible experiences. You sense a lot of terrible things happened there.

AnnaSophia- Yes

HNN- This is for both of you. What do you want to say to the people that will be watching The Expecting?

AnnaSophia- I hope they’re entertained by it and I hope they’re creeped out by it. I think if they didn’t have a real experience in empathy for this character. She is a woman who was not dealt the best hand and is struggling to survive, struggling for her sanity and, her life. She wants to make the best life that she can.

Mary- I want to echo that. It is about a girl that’s down and out. It’s an industrial town and she is living in this sort of crumbly house. She’s someone who is kind of part of the forgotten part of the world and she has this strong spirit and a desire to survive. I love that about her and I hope people will too. Plus, empathize with Emma and the crazy things that happen.

HNN- I think that is important especially with everything going on today. I thank you both so much. It was so great talking to both of you.

Mary- Thank you.

AnnaSophia- Thank you.

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