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What To Expect When You're Expecting - Cameron Diaz interview

What To Expect When You're Expecting

Interview by Rob Carnevale

CAMERON Diaz talks about playing an expectant mother in What To Expect When You’re Expecting and coping with a prosthetic bump (and feeling ‘swampy’) in Atlanta while filming.

She also discusses some of her own feelings about motherhood and why she’s always ready to welcome children into her life. She was speaking at a UK press conference for the film.

Q. This must be the first time that a best-selling self-help manual has been made into a feature film. What was it that attracted you to the script and in what ways did it deliver?
Cameron Diaz: I was the same as Matthew [Morrison]. I thought at first it was an ensemble film, how are they going to marry this very scientific book into stories… I mean, how are they going to do it? But I thought they did it very gracefully and very well with humour and with real human experiences. I felt that they did it very well and the story really connected well… it was funny, it was heartfelt and it felt real. So, I wanted to be a part of telling that story.

Q. Can you tell us about your experience of ‘being pregnant’ and what it was like to have a bump? Did it make you feel broody or did it in fact put you off the idea of ever having children?
Cameron Diaz: That was the real question you were getting to! You were lining up the other ones just to get to that! Well, the prosthetic was really amazing. It’s a piece of art in itself, it’s a sculpture that was cast on a moulding of my body that they made and then sculpted it so that it looked as if it really belonged to my body, which is why it was so convincing. And then having it adhesed to your body in Atlanta, Georgia, during August makes it quite swampy! If you can guess what a swamp is like, that’s kind of how it got in there! So, that was really fun.

But doing this film really didn’t… I’m nearly 40-years-old, so I didn’t have to do a movie to inform me on how I felt about children! I kind of know already. I love children. I’ve been an auntie for 15 years, I have three nieces and a nephew and I have many, many children around me of whom I’m part of the village that has helped to raise. So, I love them and I welcome them into my life. I want my own family when it’s time for me. I welcome it, however it may come… be it through my own body, if I adopt a child, or if I have a partner who has a child. I welcome children in my life… as I have always. And I’m excited for when it happens.

Q. How did all the babies behave in those last few scenes during childbirth? There must have been dozens? Were there some you wanted to pass on or fall in love with?
Cameron Diaz: We had very strict rules with those 14-day-old babies, like we could only have them for seven minutes at a time… especially when they were wet. In the birthing scene, they had this gel on them, so when they came to you they were wet and slippery. It was like: “Don’t drop the baby!” But they would literally be looking at their watches like this [motions with arm in the air] and they would go: “Alright, time’s up!” And they’d come straight in and take the baby out and swaddle it and get it warm.

Q. You have amazing chemistry. Did you get to hang out beforehand? And did you spend time with any of the rest of the cast?
Cameron Diaz: Matthew and I were just solo. We didn’t get to spend time with anybody else. We shot on our own, so we kind of missed out on all that. I saw Anna [Kendrick] in the lobby one night and Rodrigo [Santoro] in the gym. There was also a scene where Chace [Crawford] was sitting in the food truck. But I had a total meltdown that day! Like a real one! I had low blood sugar. It was so hot, I had that baby bump on…

Q. The material is obviously universal but what do you think that director Kirk Jones brought to it as a Brit?
Cameron Diaz: What he had to do was the most difficult part of the film, which was to weave all these stories together seamlessly and feel like they were relevant to one another and not just because they were all pregnant at the same time. You could go from one story to the next where they didn’t have anything to do with each other and still feel like you were in the same film. So, I think that he did that amazingly and, as a Brit, his sense of humour and patience with us was great. It’s hard. He’s doing ‘movie, movie, movie’… he’s shooting five different movies in a period you’d normally only shoot one whole movie in, so it was an interesting challenge for him I think.

What To Expect When You're Expecting

Q. One of the perks of pregnancy is that the woman can eat what she likes for 12 months. But was the opposite true for you given that your character has to bulk up and know how to dance as well?
Cameron Diaz: Personally, for me, if I was having a child I would think that I would want to be the strongest I’ve ever been in my life if I was going to be squeezing a baby out of my body! And if I was going to be carrying it around and if I was going to be then afterwards having sleepless nights… I would want to be in the best shape o my life if I was giving birth and having a baby. I just think it’s the hardest thing you could possibly do or ask your body to do. So, personally I would never even consider that [eating whatever you like]. For this, we were in Atlanta and my favourite food is fried chicken and Atlanta is the home of fried chicken. So, we indulged in a lot of fried chicken! But I was also working out a lot too.

Q. Do you get fed up being asked the ‘why don’t you have children’ question? And does it frustrate you that men don’t get asked the same question?
Cameron Diaz: You know, I think it’s just… it’s a funny thing in our culture and our society to ask women, and especially women my age, that question. I think that what this movie really illustrates is that when you have a child it changes your life. So, in our society we think that we’re supposed to have children and a lot of people just have kids because they think it’s what they’re supposed to do. So, they have kids and then they find out: “Wow, it really changes your life!” But for me I always knew that it changed your life and I really have enjoyed my life. I’ve really enjoyed living it the way that I’ve lived it and I haven’t wanted to change it from that, so that’s why I haven’t had children.

So, basically I’ve never really lived inside the box that everybody wants you to fit inside of and I think that’s why people ask that question… because they want to know and they’re really sort of uncomfortable with you being outside of the box because that means that they have put themselves inside of it and they kind of want to know ‘why aren’t you in here’? It makes them feel uncomfortable where they’re at… so, I kind of just put it back on them – not to you, but I say that we all choose to live different lives and I choose to live this way.

Q. Does it frustrate you that men don’t get asked the same question though?
Cameron Diaz: I don’t care! Whatever! Men and women are different… we already know that [laughs]. It doesn’t frustrate me. I do find it interesting that they don’t. But we all know… they ask that question of a woman my age because [they say] ‘your clock is ticking… your eggs are going to be bad!’ But also what this movie illustrates is that you can have a family any way you want to – you don’t have to have a family only by having your own child. There’s plenty of children out there in the world that need to be loved. Someone may be able to give birth to a child but they may not be able to give love to a child. I know that I can give love to a child at any time, even if I can’t give birth to one, so…

What To Expect When You're Expecting

Q. How did you get along with Cheryl Cole? And how do you think her acting skills are shaping up?
Cameron Diaz: Well, I think she did a great job playing herself, so ‘awesome actress’ [laughs]! But she was a lot of fun. She brought such great energy to the set and she ad libbed a lot of fun stuff and was totally calm and cool, as if that’s what she does. I think she was wonderful and we had a really great time with her. And yes, I understood everything she said.

Q. How was the dance scene to shoot at the beginning with Matthew?
Cameron Diaz: He’s a professional… he’s danced and sang on Broadway, so I just followed what he did. I just let him be the boss and it was amazing. It was like dancing with Gene Kelly, or that’s how I imagined it. He’s just so smooth. It’s like he’s on rollers. It’s amazing.

Read our review

Matthew Morrison interview