screenrant.com

16 Awkward Ways Movies Hid Actors' Pregnancies

Movie productions usually have to overcome a lot of hurdles, but the show must go on. When the star of the show turns out to be pregnant, the process is no different. The production team has to find some way to roll with it.

Often, the pregnancy cannot be worked into the story without changing it significantly, so the only thing left to do is hide the star's baby bump from the camera.

Over the years, movies have hidden away numerous actor pregnancies. What do you do when your star is pregnant, but characters like Wonder Woman or Mary Poppins can't be expecting a baby?

Furthermore, the pregnancy sometimes means that the actress cannot take as much of an active role in filming as she originally intended, leading to a lot of changes on set.

In some movies, the process is as simple as filming her in close-ups, but the movies often call for a more creative method. Over the years, filmmakers have utilized almost everything to hide the fact that their star was an expectant mother.

Some have turned to creative costuming, others to visual effects and body doubles, still more to the tried and true method of putting various weird things between the actress and the camera. In all of those cases, the pregnancy on set changed the production and sometimes the final product significantly.

Here are the 16 Awkward Ways Movies Hid Actors' Pregnancies.

advertising

16 Used CGI to remove the baby bump in Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot blew away audiences with her empowering and impressive portrayal of Wonder Woman. Even more impressive was the fact that she was also five months pregnant while filming reshoots for the movie.

Since it wouldn't make sense for this iteration of Wonder Woman to be sporting a very noticeable baby bump, the filmmakers chose to simply edit out the pregnancy in post-production.

The costume department cut out the front of her costume and replaced it with green fabric. This allowed the editors to change Gadot's figure later in the same way that they might use a green screen.

Gadot stated about the technique, "On close-up, I looked very much like Wonder Woman. On wide shots, I looked very funny, like Wonder Woman pregnant with Kermit the Frog."

It also affected filming Batman v Superman and Justice League. She hid her pregnancy during Batman v Superman, not even telling the cast and crew about it to avoid being treated differently. She discreetly dealt with nausea and migraines without giving the reason for her symptoms.

During Justice League, she had to work out a schedule to deal with her pregnancy ills while on set, which involved an assistant who would loudly sing over the sound of her vomiting.

Despite all of her behind-the-scenes troubles, Gal Gadot still seem to give 100% to her performance, proving herself quite a Wonder Woman both on-screen and off.

15 Hid her behind characters and trees in Into the Woods

advertising

Into the Woods tells the story of an ensemble of characters, largely focusing on a baker and his wife who desperately want a child.

In a strange twist of fate, the filmmakers had to work out some way to hide that Emily Blunt, who played the baker's wife, was pregnant. They ended up using a combination of costuming and the time-honored tradition of hiding pregnant actresses behind things.

Her co-star Meryl Streep commented, "That was pretty funny. They were constantly putting James Corden [the Baker] in front of her belly, raising her apron higher and higher."

The costuming department would adjust her character's apron however was needed to hide her growing baby bump, sometimes making new adjustments every four or five days.

They also used the set and other characters to obscure her pregnancy from view. Blunt said, "I was hiding behind every tree in that wood!"

It also proved to be a small issue when filming her dance scene with Chris Pine.

Blunt added, "When we did rehearsals, I was being kind of careful. By the time we shot, it was about two months later and I said to Chris Pine, 'You need to add 15 pounds to what you felt before. When you dip me, you gotta get yourself in a deep lunge because there's more weight coming down!"

14 Used her sister as a body double in Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides introduced Angelica, Jack Sparrow's old flame and the daughter of Blackbeard, played by Penelope Cruz.

Right before filming began for Pirates, Cruz found out she was pregnant with her first child. Cruz was still able to continue through most of the filming, but the pregnancy posed a problem for stunts and certain shots of Angelica.

Director Rob Marshall decided to use a stand-in for Cruz in some scenes.

Luckily, it was easy to find a Penelope Cruz look-alike: her sister, Monica, who is also an actress and dancer in Spain.

Monica is only three years younger than her sister, but she looks very similar to Cruz.

Marshall commented, "Towards the end of the shoot, we asked Monica to help us out for some of the shots because we needed a different silhouette, so the whole family got to work on the movie."

Cruz added, "I did a couple of months of training and did what I was able to do, but I couldn't do everything, just what was safe. Monica came at the end to do some scenes. She's a dancer and very good with a sword because she's done a film herself."

13 Used period costumes and placed children in front of her in Vanity Fair

After Reese Witherspoon was cast in the period piece Vanity Fair as the feisty social climber Becky Sharp, she discovered that she was pregnant.

She was already a strange casting as the only American in a British and Irish cast, but director Mira Nair stuck with her and helped to accommodate her baby bump for the screen.

Fortunately, the period piece used the large, voluminous dresses of the time, making it far easier for the costuming department to hide Witherspoon's pregnancy.

Witherspoon was five months pregnant while filming some of the movie, which sometimes made the filming logistics difficult even with the lush Victorian costumes.

Nair used some other camera tricks to obscure Witherspoon, such as hiring young boys to stand in front of her. Nair explained, "There's also a certain carriage with horses that is going to wipe the screen at a certain moment, because of the bump."

However, Nair was happy with Witherspoon's pregnancy in the movie. She joked, "It was a self-fulfilling prophesy -- when I first met her husband [Ryan Philippe], I said 'knock her up, won't you, I need some flesh on the girl.'"

Nair added, "I'm not a fan of the underfed Los Angeles actor at all. This was, for me, about Becky Sharp being, eventually, a full-blown woman through the course of the film. I love the luminosity that pregnancy brings, I love the fleshiness, I love the ample bosom -- it gave me much more to play with."

12 Fit her a with a prosthetic baby bump in The Life Aquatic

It's no secret that Cate Blanchett is a brilliant actress who seamlessly blends into any part. In a twist of fate, Blanchett once again ended up being the perfect casting in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. 

In the movie, Blanchett plays pregnant British journalist Jane Winslett-Richardson. In the course of filming, Blanchett realized that she was actually pregnant.

She was expecting to wear a prosthetic baby bump through the filming until her revelation.

Blanchett explained, "I only found out when I fainted when I was being fitted for my prosthetic belly thing. It's a nasty business. They Vaseline you up, put plaster of Paris on you, and you have to stand up for hours. And I fainted. I'd only ever done it once before in my life, and I was pregnant that time too."

Director Wes Anderson sent her congratulatory flowers with a note praising her method-acting devotion to her role.

Blanchett also didn't have to deal with her prosthetic baby bump for long, saving her a lot of trouble. She commented, "I used it to begin with, but I didn't need it by the end."

The Life Aquatic proved to be a rare case where the movie didn't have to hide away the actor's pregnancy, but instead manage the changing size of it.

11 Hid her bump behind in iPad in Divergent

advertising

Kate Winslet took on the role of Jeanine Matthews, the formidable antagonist of the Divergent series, while she was five months pregnant.

When approaching her scenes, the filmmakers had to get creative to hide her noticeable baby bump.

Director Neil Burger stated, "We had to be very strategic in the way that we shot her. She always had some sort of file or case in her hand that was sort of protecting, you know, her bump."

Winslet added, "The number of takes where I’m, like, ‘Guys, if I’m in profile, you gotta give me an iPad or something to hold. I mean, seriously."

They also had to use a stand-in for some of the stunts required for her character, particularly for one scene where Jeanine Matthews takes an elbow to the face, which required a body double.

Burger explained, "Kate was pregnant when we were doing this and she wanted to take the fall but we wouldn’t let her. It was a hard fall. That was not Kate."

She even returned for reshoots with her baby in tow. Producer Douglas Wick commented, "She set a new standard for professionalism. We were doing a scene at the end and she’d shoot a bunch of stuff and she’d have to run out and nurse the baby and come back and finish the scene."

"And she apologized because she said when she was pregnant, she didn’t think she did her stunts fully enough and now wanted to do them. Pretty formidable," he said.

10 Ditched a love scene in Tomorrow Never Dies

Anyone who has watched a James Bond movie knows they feature steamy love scenes involving the various Bond girls that cycle through the movies.

However, in Tomorrow Never Dies, those scenes with Teri Hatcher were mysteriously sparse.

Teri Hatcher played Paris Carver, one of Bond's old flames and the wife of media mogul Elliot Carver. She had an unusually slim part in the movie. The main female role went instead to a second Bond girl, Wai Lin.

At the time of filming, Teri Hatcher revealed that she was pregnant, which reportedly led to the filmmakers dropping a love scene between her and Pierce Brosnan's James Bond.

She also had to film her scenes quickly before she began to show much.

She later called Carver "an artificial kind of character to be playing that you don't get any special satisfaction from it." She also stated that she only took the role for her husband, who had a dream of being married to a Bond girl.

Her pregnancy, which was not immediately revealed to the rest of the cast, also caused friction between her and Pierce Brosnan.

Brosnan stated, "I got very upset with her -- she was always keeping me waiting for hours. I must admit I let slip a few words which weren't very nice... It came out one morning that Teri was pregnant and she hadn't been feeling very well."

9 Edited her face onto stunt doubles in Avengers: Age of Ultron

Black Widow is a fearsome foe in the Avengers movies, which means a lot of intense work for Scarlett Johansson.

While Avengers: Age of Ultron was in production, Johansson was pregnant with her first child, which complicated filming for her extremely active character.

For all of the scenes that were too intense or risky for Johansson, they used a body double with dots patterned over their face so that the visual effects team could graft Johansson's face onto their body in the final cut.

Johansson had three body doubles for the production, an unusually large number of stand-ins for one actress. Co-star Chris Evans commented, "It’s always funny. You walk by, ‘Hey Scarlett, oh. Weird. You’re not Scarlett at all. Sorry.’ A lot of fake Scarletts around."

He added about Johansson, "She’s just been great. It really hasn’t slowed us down at all. She’ll be running around, diving and jumping, and doing these things and you’re like ‘She seems like she’s got this.'"

Director Joss Whedon explained, "We’re not avoiding any of the danger because the stuntwomen do the danger— as has always been the case."

"She’s very central to the movie and when we heard [about the pregnancy], we scheduled things around that. She’s not going to spend the whole movie carrying groceries. We didn’t trim any scenes. We’re like: we’ll make it work," he stated.

8 Replaced her with a different female character in Now You See Me 2

Isla Fisher's Henley captured the audience in the magician thriller Now You See Me, but when it came to the sequel, Henley was written out of the story with only a brief mention.

Instead, the movie replaced her with another female magician, Lulu.

Henley was reportedly written out of the story due to Isla Fisher's pregnancy, although it remains unclear whether Fisher's or the filmmakers' decision to leave Henley out.

Some critics pointed out the problematic nature of easily replacing one female character with another in an otherwise male-dominated movie where even the new character additions were male.

Lizzy Caplan's Lulu even declares, "I'm the girl Horseman!" The other main female cast member Mélanie Laurent, who plays FBI director Natalie Austin, also did not return, and her part was recast with a different actress.

Fisher may have had further reasons not to return to Now You See Me, especially with her pregnancy. The stunt filming became dangerous for her during the first movie when she almost drowned during a water stunt.

Fisher stated, "My chain got stuck. I had to really swim to the bottom; I couldn’t get up. Everyone thought I was acting fabulously. I was actually drowning... No one realized I was actually struggling."

7 Used the pregnancy symptoms to enhance her character in The Girl on the Train

advertising

While The Girl on the Train was in production, Emily Blunt contended with filming while pregnant a second time. At first, she tried not to tell anyone on set about the baby, but she was forced to do so as filming continued until she was 20 weeks along.

Her character was a fragile alcoholic, and she found the pregnancy only added to her portrayal of the character.

Blunt commented, "'I was really tired all the time, which is not my normal self, and people thought I'd begun drinking heavily, just to get into character."

"But it wasn't the part I was playing that made it such a struggle to keep going; what no one knew was that I'd just found out I was pregnant with my second child, but I was determined not to let anyone think I was using that as an excuse," she said.

However, her co-star Justin Theroux was able to guess. Blunt added, "And he only guessed because I was being a bit of a wuss about some of my scenes, which isn't like me at all."

As filming continued, she decided to also let the director in on the secret.

She explained, "Eventually, I had to tell the director, Tate Taylor, when we filmed a scene where I am in the bath, and I told him: 'You have to shoot it from behind.' When he asked why, I showed him my expanding tummy and said: 'Because of this.'"

6 Padded the rest of her body in A Christmas Story

In the holiday classic A Christmas Story, Tedde Moore played Miss Shields, Ralphie's teacher who ran his class both in regular life and in his daydream fantasy sequences.

At the time she appeared in the movie, Moore was eight months pregnant. However, she made sure no one would know in order to fit the expectations of the time period.

She was personally approached by the director for the part, but she didn't want to take it. Her character was presumably single, and a single mother at the time would have been a scandal.

Moore explained, "The film took place in 1938. In 1938, pregnant women never stood in front of a classroom. In fact, it was rare for a married woman to stand in front of a classroom."

The director wanted her to be in the movie. He offered that they could film her behind a desk. She finally decided to take the role, but only on the condition that she didn't appear to be pregnant.

The costume department had to come up with some way to hide her eight-months-pregnant belly.

Their solution was to costume her in loose-fitting dresses and pad her body underneath with cotton and foam.

She said the padding would "make the rest of myself look as fat as my stomach." In the end, it worked well enough that no one could accuse Miss Shield of any scandal.

5 Delayed the movie for the first-choice actress in Mary Poppins

When Walt Disney met Julie Andrews while casting Mary Poppins, he knew that he had found his star and was willing to do anything to cast her.

Disney met with Andrews and her husband while she was starring in Camelot, and he invited her to see the art and music his studio had made for Mary Poppins.

Andrews remembered, "My heart sank. I said, 'Oh, Mr. Disney, I have to tell you. I'm expecting a baby in six months.' And Mr. Disney said, 'That's all right. We'll wait.'"

Julie Andrews then-husband Tony Walton was a relatively unknown set and costume designer at the time, and Disney also offered him a job to further entice her into the role.

She also had to have a conversation with Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers the day after the birth.

Andrews related, "I'd just given birth to my daughter Emma literally the day before. And the following morning my phone rang in the hospital, and the voice said, 'Hello?' I said, 'Who is this?' She says 'P.L. Travers.' I almost sat up in bed."

Andrews continued, "I said, 'Oh, Miss Travers, how sweet of you to call!' She said, 'Yes. Well, I understand you're going to be playing the part of Mary Poppins.' I said 'yes, as I understand it' ... I said, 'Well I'm feeling a bit woozy right now. I just had a baby yesterday.'" Travers responded, "Well. You're far too pretty, of course. But you've got the nose for it."

4 Fast-tracked the musical numbers in Evita

When Madonna took on the role of Eva Peron in Evita, she felt like she was destined to play her. However, that didn't stop complication from cropping up when Madonna announced she was pregnant early in production.

The movie adaption of the the Broadway musical still had some intense musical numbers to film with Madonna. They had already filmed in Buenos Aires, but still needed to shoot scenes in Budapest and London.

Director Alan Parker moved up all the scenes where Madonna had to dance, as well as any scenes where her pregnancy would be obvious later on.

In one musical number, Madonna needed to perform a waltz that would be shot in all three locations. She had already filmed one part of it in a particular dress, which meant she would need to wear the same dress in the next two locations.

To accommodate Madonna's growing baby bump, the costume designer would sew fabric inserts into the dresses. Some audiences might be able to discern her progressing pregnancy as the waltz scene cuts to different locations.

Parker also decided to cut a scene where Evita is carried down church steps by her brother. The director was worried that the actor would slip, which might put Madonna and her baby at risk.

3 Had her character pretend to be pregnant in Ocean's Twelve

advertising

Rather than hiding Julia Roberts' pregnancy for Ocean's Twelve, the filmmakers decided to get meta.

She had kept her baby a secret on set. Co-star George Clooney only found out she was pregnant by reading it in the news. However, she also wasn't averse to playing her pregnancy for a laugh in the movie, as she approved a scene parodying herself within the story.

Roberts' character Tess realizes that she looks a lot like Julia Roberts, and she poses as a pregnant Julia Roberts.

The plan, of course, starts to fall apart when Julia Roberts' friend Bruce Willis shows up, and Tess ends up on the phone with the real Julia Roberts. It's a rare fourth wall break for a blockbuster movie.

Roberts also noticed that her co-stars treatment of her changed while she was pregnant. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon were well-known for their on-set pranks.

Julia Roberts was usually a target, as her co-stars dumped cold water on her and blocked off her trailer entrance with potted plants. While she was pregnant, though, things were different.

Roberts explained, "It was such a sweet shift in our relationships because originally, it was all pranks and teasing each other. And here I am pregnant, so it's like pulling out my chair and just making sure I have enough water and, 'Are you feeling OK? You look a little peaked.' 'I'm fine.'"

2 Reduced her role in X-Men: Days of Future Past

For one of the foremost X-Men, Storm had a strangely small role in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Storm was originally going to have a larger role in the movie, but it was constrained by Halle Berry's pregnancy.

The announcement left fans wondering if Storm would be entirely absent from the movie, but she was worked into it in a different way than the filmmakers first intended.

It was still early in the pregnancy, but production of Storm's scenes had to be rushed before Berry started to show.

She particularly had trouble fitting into Storm's skintight superhero costume, which left little room for her growing baby bump. 

Berry stated, "I was three months pregnant. It was different. I had to shoot really fast. Two weeks was about as much as I could do before I was busting out of the suit."

Discussing her changed role in the movie, Berry explained, "Storm probably won't be as bad**s as she was going to be because we won't be able to do any fighting or flying or things like that. She'll be different than we originally planned her to be but I still think she'll be an integral part of this new X-Men movie."

1 Recast her as a different character in Harry Potter

Bellatrix Lestrange was one of the most captivating characters of the Harry Potter series, but the filmmakers ran into problems casting the terrifying Death Eater for Order of the Phoenix.

Helen McCrory was originally cast as Bellatrix, but her casting happened to coincide with her pregnancy, so she backed out of the role. Instead, filmmakers cast the excellent Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix, but it was not the end of McCrory's involvement.

Her pregnancy didn't stop her from joining the series, as she returned in another role.

When production started on The Half-Blood Prince, McCrory was cast yet again, this time in the role of Draco's mother, Narcissa Malfoy.

In hindsight, the accident of casting seems to have worked out, as McCrory played the softer role of Narcissa to perfection, and Bellatrix would not have been the same without Helena Bonham Carter's brand of crazy.

However, it wasn't the last time that the Harry Potter crew had to contend with a cast pregnancy. Between the two movies, Carter was also pregnant and returned to film Half-Blood Prince not long after the birth of her daughter, which explains why some people noticed that Bellatrix seemed to be pregnant in her first scene.

However, even that eventually worked with Harry Potter canon.

---

Can you think of any other crazy ways that actors' pregnancies were hidden in movies? Sound off in the comments!

More in Lists