Cobie Smulders stars in director Kris Swanberg‘s latest film, Unexpected, as an inner-city high school teacher who unexpectedly finds herself pregnant.

Cobie Smulders, Kris Swanberg On ‘Unexpected’

Smulders’ character Samantha Abbott and her boyfriend John (Anders Holm) weren’t looking to start a family when they find out they have a baby on the way. Similarly, Samantha’s star pupil Jasmine (Gail Bean) learns that she’s pregnant as well. While both women want to keep their children, they struggle to reconcile the idea of becoming mothers while maintaining their other identities and staying true to their other goals in life.

“There’s very few to no films told about pregnancy told from the female perspective. All of the kind of mega-popular ones – like Knocked Up or Nine Months, or She’s Having a Baby – are all told from the male perspective,” Swanberg explained to uInterview in an exclusive interview. “And it’s usually a man sort of saying, ‘Oh, my wife’s crazy what do I do?’ And it’s really rare to see a movie told from a woman’s perspective as she’s going through pregnancy.”

Smulders added, “I feel like whenever people learn that you’re pregnant there’s like a handful of things that are always asked like, ‘What are you craving?,’ ” adding, “There are these questions that have been formed from all of these movies, and we have them in [Unexpected] a little bit because they are real things, but I think Kris did an amazing job writing and directing this movie, where it was a more grounded, realistic version of pregnancy, and of the things that a woman has to go through – not just physically but emotionally as well.”

Check Out Cobie Smulders’ uBio HERE

Smulders was pregnant with her second child with her husband, Saturday Night Live cast member Taran Killam, while filming Unexpected, which she jokingly admitted, helped “portraying someone who was tired and didn’t know how to speak.” As for the baby belly itself, the How I Met Your Mother alum said it was both an advantage and a disadvantage during filming.

“I feel like the money we saved on a prosthetic belly for me went straight to our craft service, which our crew loved,” Smulders quipped. “But, this is an independent film, so you know in the morning I would be one week pregnant and by the afternoon I was six months, and at the end of the day it was back to three months…. Sometimes the belly helped and sometimes it didn’t.”

Playing Smulders’ mother in the film is Downton Abbey star Elizabeth McGovern, who Smulders, an admitted fan of the actress, thinks did a commendable job playing a potentially unlikeable matriarch.

“She was sort of given, I think, quite a challenging character because this is a mom that can come across very unlikable,” Smulders told uInterview. “But she portrayed this woman with such sincerity and she was just so raw about it that you sort of understood her perspective.”

Unexpected hits theaters in limited release July 24 and will be available on VOD and iTunes the same day.


Q: What were you trying to say about pregnancy with the film? -

Kris Swanberg: Well one thing that we really noticed sort of going into the film, I didn’t even really think about it while I was writing, but there’s very few to no films told about pregnancy told from the female perspective. All of the kind of mega-popular ones – like Knocked Up or Nine Months, or She’s Having a Baby – are all told from the male perspective and it’s usually a man sort of saying, “Oh, my wife’s crazy what do I do?” And it’s really rare to see a movie told from a woman’s perspective as she’s going through pregnancy. So I thought that was really unique, strangely, unique.

Cobie Smulders: Yeah, you know, it’s so true. I feel like whenever people learn that you’re pregnant there’s like a handful of things that are always asked like, “What are you craving? Are you like super crazy? Are your hormones out of control?” And like, “How big are your ankles?” There are these questions that have been formed from all of these movies and these comedic bits in these movies, and we have them in this one a little bit because they are real things. But, yeah, I think Kris did an amazing job writing and directing this movie, where it was a more grounded, realistic version of pregnancy, and of the things that a woman has to go through, not just physically but emotionally as well.

Q: Cobie, what challenges did being pregnant during filming present? -

CS: Well, I think that some times it was to our benefit. I feel like the money we saved on a prosthetic belly for me went straight to our craft service, which our crew loved that. But, this is an independent film, so you know in the morning I would be one week pregnant and by the afternoon I was six months, and at the end of the day it was back to three months. And, so luckily we had an amazing wardrobe team and we were able to sort of add girth and take away, and sort of do that sort of size dance. Sometimes the belly helped and sometimes it didn’t. [Being pregnant] always helped me portraying someone who was tired and didn’t know how to speak.

KS: Not true.

Q: What was it like working with Elizabeth McGovern? -

CS: Well, I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time. In fact, one of the things that Kris told me to watch was She’s Having a Baby, to watch Elizabeth in that film because she’s so good. I’m also a huge Downton Abbey fan and love her in that. On the day working with her she was sort of given, I think, quite a challenging character because this is a mom that can come across very unlikable. But she portrayed this woman with such sincerity, and she was just so raw about it that you sort of understood her perspective – although maybe you didn’t agree with it at times or thinking it’s a little bit severe – but you kind of understood where she was coming from. And I think that it’s because of her abilities that you sort of related to this mother; this mother of mothers, of this new mother, and kind of saw her disappointment in the situation.