Interview: Harron & Robb tell us what to expect with The Expecting

AnnaSophia Robb stars as Emma in Quibi’s horror thriller The Expecting.Photo credit: Courtesy of Quibi
AnnaSophia Robb stars as Emma in Quibi’s horror thriller The Expecting.Photo credit: Courtesy of Quibi /
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The Expecting
Gretchen Mol and Mary Harron (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images) /

1428 Elm: I’m sure he appreciated that! I think most of our readers are familiar with Quibi, but for those who aren’t, their films are cut up into ten minute – somewhere in the neighborhood of ten minute – chapters, which I really enjoy. What are the challenges that go along with filming a movie that’s going to be cut up into pieces like this?

Mary: My big challenge is the editing room really, because they were written – and that’s one of the things that made the script really exciting to read – there’s a lot of twists and turns, as you’ll find, where things really switch around and there are surprises and turns. In script form, the ending scene was written in, and then of course when you edit, all that always changes, you always say, “Oh, no, we have to add this or that,” so you’re just trying to find that tense moment to add in.

1428 Elm: AnnaSophia, were there challenges in filming these little compact scenes?

AnnaSophia: Yeah, I remember thinking that it seemed like things were going faster, and I think it’s just that we had a ton of material to cover every day, and not a whole lot of time. But, everything moved pretty quickly, because the amount of story you have to tell over time – there are indeed chapters – so, it’s just shorter. But, it didn’t feel that much different than doing an indie movie.

1428 Elm: Was The Expecting originally conceptualized as a regular full-length film or was it specifically filmed for Quibi?

Mary: Well, talking to the writer, it was originally a feature film script and the people at Quibi said, “This could go into chapters, with some rewriting and reshaping,” and that’s what they did; which worked pretty well.

AnnaSophia: Yeah, I thought it actually worked really well for this story, especially with the pregnancy and the sort of different timing of the pregnancy and everything.

1428 Elm: I think when some people think of Quibi, they’re thinking these are just short films, and they’re really not. I’ve told a lot of people, “No, it’s like watching a really exciting chapter and having to wait until the next day to see the next one.” I really appreciate the creativity of it. So, quickly before I let you go, why don’t each of you tell us what we can expect from you next, what you’re going to be working on.

Mary: I’m trying to see if I can get to Portugal to work on a film about the last years of Salvador Dali and his wife Gala. There’s a lot of complexity about shooting right now, so there’s just a lot of things and I’m waiting to see if they work out.

1428 Elm: AnnaSophia, what about you?

AnnaSophia: Everyone’s sort of in a holding pattern, I had a film that was supposed to air about two weeks ago, and we haven’t even started filming yet. So, I’m back in New York and they’re starting filming next week. It’s called Dr. Death, it’s on Peacock, it’s based on the true crime podcast. I’m looking forward to that, I miss working and just being on set with everyone. Don’t you miss it, Mary?

Mary: I do, I do, I’m ready. It was nice, but I’m ready to get out there again, yes. We were lucky, in that we had just finished, I was in post (production) for The Expecting when the lockdown happened, we did all the visual effects and the mix and everything remotely, which was very strange. But, I’m really ready, because there’s nothing like being with other people on set.

1428 Elm: The rest of us out in the world are really missing seeing new and exciting work, so we’re looking forward to it too. Well, thank you so much, both of you, for your time, I really appreciate it.

The Expecting is available to watch on Quibi now. You can also watch Quibi’s other horror offerings, including 50 States of Fear and The Stranger. New subscribers can receive a free 14-day trial subscription by visiting the website.

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