15 Times When Actresses Were Pregnant During Filming and the Filmmakers Cleverly Worked Around The Situation
An actress’ pregnancy can considerably complicate the filming process and become a challenge for the creative team. A feature film can take a long time to make, let alone a series that’s several seasons in length. In such cases, the filmmakers resort to different solutions: writing the pregnancy into the script, hiding their belly under clothing and props, or using visual effects. By using these tricks, sometimes a star’s pregnancy goes completely unnoticed by the audience.
Zooey Deschanel — New Girl
When the main star of the series got pregnant during the filming of season 5, the writers sent Jess to jury duty for a few episodes, where the actress’ round belly wasn’t visible behind the bench. In season 6, Deschanel and Hannah Simone, who plays Cece, was also pregnant, which is one of the reasons why the final chapter of the series was released later than usual.
Courteney Cox — Friends
In the last season of the iconic series, the actress was pregnant with her daughter. Since in the storyline, Monica and Chandler couldn’t have children and therefore decided to adopt, the creators had to hide Cox’s large belly with clothes, bags and even other actors’ heads.
Before this, the star had suffered several miscarriages, including ahead of filming the episodes where Rachel gives birth to Emma, so working on these scenes was extremely difficult for Cox.
Emily Blunt — Edge of Tomorrow
Although the actress appears slim and athletic in the film, during the filming she was actually carrying her daughter Hazel. Because of this, in some of the scenes, viewers are not seeing Blunt, but her double. Interestingly, the only person from the team who knew about her pregnancy was her screen partner Tom Cruise.
He got the wrong idea when he found out that Blunt resorted to the services of a double. Until then, she had performed most of the stunts herself. So the actress had no choice but to come clean.
Alyson Hannigan — How I Met Your Mother
While working on the series, the actress was pregnant twice, and both times it didn’t coincide with the pregnancy of her character. In order to hide Hannigan’s round belly, the creators resorted to all sorts of tricks, such as covering it up with huge bags, baskets, and other props.
The star’s large belly was shown only in the scene where Lily won the hot-dog-eating contest, which gave the filmmakers the comical workaround they needed.
Debra Messing — Will & Grace
Grace usually wore tight outfits and short tops, so when the actress’s pregnancy caused the character to start wearing loose-fitting clothes and always carry something in her hands, it didn’t get past the viewers; the change in habits and wardrobe was too abrupt. Moreover, Messing had to skip the filming of the last four episodes of season 6.
Mandy Moore — This Is Us
During the filming of season 5, the actress had to hide her first pregnancy. The show alternates between different time periods, so viewers may have noticed that there were fewer scenes with the older Rebecca. At the time, Moore was quite far along in her pregnancy, so in her scenes she had to always carry laundry baskets, large bags, coats, and other items to keep her large belly unnoticed.
Blake Lively — The Shallows
In 2016, while filming the thriller, the actress was pregnant with her second child. Since she wasn’t that far along, the story and the character’s visuals weren’t affected. But for Lively, working on The Shallows was a real challenge, as it required a lot of physical stamina and dedication. The star did all the stunts, without relying on a double, up until the last two weeks of filming.
Kerry Washington — Scandal
When the series became an undisputed hit, the actress’ career skyrocketed. However, at the time of filming season 3, it came out that Washington was pregnant. The main star’s pregnancy could have significantly complicated the work, resulting in adjustments to the plot, but the creators managed to avoid any such problems. To disguise the actress’ round belly, they used carefully selected outfits and various props.
Holly Marie Combs — Charmed
At the time of filming season 6, the actress playing Piper was pregnant. Instead of improvising to hide the actress’ growing belly, the screenwriters decided to simply incorporate the pregnancy into the story. And so the character had her second son, Chris.
January Jones — Mad Men
When the actress got pregnant ahead of filming season 4, the show’s creators decided it wasn’t the best time for her character to be in this condition. So in the story, Betty gained weight due to a thyroid problem. For it to be convincing, they even designed special prosthesis for Jones’ face to make it look fuller, as well as a special costume.
Claire Danes — Homeland
The star was pregnant while working on season 2 of the series, and it just so happened that with the timing of Danes’ pregnancy, the filming also intensified: at times, her character had to be chained to a pipe, or appear in love scenes. Often in such episodes, it’s the body of a double that can be seen on-screen, rather than the actress herself. In December 2012, the star gave birth to her first son, Cyrus.
Amy Poehler — Parks and Recreation
The actress’ second pregnancy coincided with the start of filming season 3. Although her character later became a mother, an addition to Leslie’s family wasn’t part of the scriptwriters’ plans at the time, so they decided not to reveal the star’s condition using classic techniques: clothes, objects, and other props.
Kristen Bell — House of Lies
During filming, the actress was pregnant twice and the screenwriters had to get creative. So, when it became more difficult to cover Bell’s round belly with bags, folders and other objects, they came up with a storyline about her racy video, thus explaining her absence. The star’s second pregnancy, however, got written into the plot.
Ivana Milicevic — The 100
Charmaine Diyoza was originally scheduled to die at the end of season 5, but when it came out that the actress was expecting a child, showrunner Jason Rothenberg decided to incorporate her pregnancy into the script.
“My son coming into this world gave me three years of awesome work on an awesome show,” Milicevic said in an interview.
Hilary Duff — Younger
As the filming of the final season unfolded, it came to light that the actress was carrying her third child. While in the first episodes it wasn’t noticeable at all, closer to the end, the creators had to resort to various tricks, as Kelsey’s pregnancy wasn’t part of their plans.
The director of Younger, Darren Star, decided to disguise Duff’s belly with carefully selected outfits and props. “I remember Hilary told me on the set that they would give her things to hold in front of her, but it got to the point where her arms weren’t long enough to always hold something,” he recalls.
What, do you think, is the best approach in the case of a visibly pregnant actress: to write her condition into the script, or to disguise her belly?