Check Out Our Exclusive Clip from THE EXPECTING from the Director of AMERICAN PSYCHO

Written by Ben Ketai and directed by Mary Harron (American Psycho), The Expecting takes “body horror” to bold new territory. Now streaming on Quibi, The Expecting charts the unearthly pregnancy of Emma (AnnaSophia Robb), a waitress who desires to free herself from her troubled past and disappointing present. Plagued by nightmares and disturbing physical complications, Emma embarks on an unexpected journey to uncover the truth about her conception.

Today, Dread Central is thrilled to share an exclusive clip from The Expecting! Give it a spin below the trailer.

The Expecting stars AnnaSophia Robb, Rory Culkin, Mira Sorvino, Hannah Murray, and Michael Gaston.

Ketai’s script for The Expecting sold to Dark Castle and Platinum Dunes, and the companies took the project Quibi. Harron, revered in horror circles as the director of American Psycho, signed on to direct. Ketai notes that Harron’s acute attention to drama and character influenced his support of the acclaimed director taking on the project. “It was important to me in this genre where it could let things cross the rails, I didn’t want a director who was only going to focus on ‘scary.’ I was excited about her because she would focus on human nature and humanality, the things that separate one genre movie from another,” Ketai says.

Harron, who juggled her duties as a judge at the Venice Film Festival as she prepared to film The Expecting, cites her own experiences with pregnancy as an impetus to join the project: “Having had two children, I always felt when I was pregnant — and as happy as I was about being pregnant — that it is like your own personal horror movie because of the way your body changes so bizarrely. Your body has this almost independent life on its own. I thought it was great to have a horror film that delved into that, and turned that into a narrative in a very physical way,” Harron says.

Pregnancy is a favorite topic in science fiction and horror, notably in Cronenberg’s The Fly, Rosemary’s Baby, and Village of the Damned. Harron explains the cinematic fascination with gestation: “It’s the unknown, and it’s the idea of a possession, because you are a host,” Harron says. “You’re a vessel for this new creature, and you have no idea what it’s going to be like. There’s something very mysterious about it.”

But The Expecting goes far beyond prenatal aches and pains, adding an otherworldly, paranoid dimension to Emma’s predicament. Emma questions the intentions of both her boyfriend, Tyler (Rory Culkin), and her doctor (Mira Sorvino). Further research leads Emma to the unexplained and unknown: “I’ve always had a deep fascination with extraterrestrials,” Ketai says. “To me, what’s more terrifying than that, are people who are zealots about it, who actually believe that they’re real, that they’re something to be worshipped as opposed to just to be believed in.”

Despite the pressures of outside forces, Emma’s journey is one of self-discovery, as she pushes through her past to try and create a new future for herself. Emma’s mother had a tenuous relationship with sanity, which led to her early demise. Pregnancy offers Emma a chance to avoid the same fate. “It’s the story of a young woman who has always been afraid of herself, and has been afraid of becoming her mother,” Harron comments. “That fear has held her back from growing, and has kept her in a state of arrested development. She hasn’t gotten a real job, or made close friendships, or moved her life out of her teens. The story to me is cathartic, watching Emma go through it. Even though there’s the dread of what she’s experiencing, she’s becoming a stronger person and understanding more about herself. We all have a little bit of that in us.”

Known primarily for her many performances from her childhood, including Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Bridge to Terabithia, Robb recently appeared in the hit limited series Little Fires Everywhere. The Expecting further expands upon Robb’s increasingly diverse resume. “It was really jumping in the deep end in terms of adult roles,” Harron explains. “She’s fragile looking, but also quite tough. Anyone who has been a child star and survived it intact has a lot of inner toughness. I thought we could draw on that contradiction in her. I think she enjoyed playing the rebellious aspects of her character.”

Despite Emma’s unusual predicament, Ketai describes what makes his lead character so accessible and recognizable to audiences: “The thing that makes her such a relatable character is that we feel like she does always feel ganged up on. Mary did a brilliant job of showing that feeling of distrust within her world, the discomfort that she feels with other people because she doesn’t know what their intentions are toward her. It adds another layer of tension and eeriness.”

Rory Culkin, another child actor whose career has flourished as an adult, plays Tyler. “My casting director sent me a film he did called Gabriel. He’s so incredible in it,” Harron says of casting Culkin. “He’s so riveting. He’s very good at playing ambiguity. He really did a performance that’s right on a knife edge.”

Mira Sorvino joined the production to play Dr. Green, who develops a protective relationship with Emma. “I wrote her to be somebody that feels very maternal. She approaches Emma in a way that gives her comfort. We have to imagine that she’s smart enough to tap into something vulnerable for Emma, and that has to do with her mother,” Ketai explains.

“Mira came in and played that so beautifully as well because she does have a natural warmth to her,” Harron adds.

Before cameras rolled, one major commitment had to be made: the script for The Expecting called for Emma to lose her hair. “I had to persuade AnnaSophia to shave her head,” Harron remembers, noting that she coaxed the actor with solidarity. “‘We’ll all shave our heads if you shave your head,’” Harron says. Robb acquiesced, and she and the director braved the chilly Boston winter together with newly shaved heads.

About Quibi:
Quibi delivers quick-bite original content that fits into any moment of your day. Shows featuring the world’s biggest stars. Episodes in 10 minutes or less. All designed for your phone. No more streaming movies and TV shows you don’t have time to finish. Quibi brings you new content that is quick enough for any in-between moment, like coffee time, your daily skincare routine, even bathroom breaks. So you can watch news, drama, comedy, docs, sports, and more during your downtime.

What do you think of our exclusive clip from The Expecting? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.



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