The director behind HBO Max’s “Unrecognized” seeks to destroy abortion at a time when reproductive rights are “under attack”.


Rachel Lee Goldberg told Buzzfeed, “In my dream scenario, this film doesn’t matter to viewers in a few years because it seems absurd that someone would have to walk 1,000 miles to get an abortion.” news. (Spoiler ahead!)

Posted on September 10, 2020 at 4:04 pm ET

Ursula Coyote / HBO Max

In Veronica (Haley Lou Richardson) and Bailey (Barbie Ferreira) Unpregnant.

When 17-year-old Veronica (Haley Lu Richardson) finds out that she is pregnant within the first few minutes of HBO Max Unpregnant, The audience does not engage in any kind of debate or deliberation about how she is handling her pregnancy. From the moment she is standing in a high school bathroom stall, undergoing a positive pregnancy test, her character quickly learns that she is having an abortion.

While Veronica is unwavering in her decision to have an abortion, her home state of Missouri requires women under 18 to seek the permission of their parents. But this is not an option for Veronica, who is initially not comfortable telling her mother. Bailey (Barbie Ferreira), Veronica’s former best friend who happens to be in the school bathroom when she learns she is pregnant. Veronica has no one else to go to, and Bailey conveniently facilitates them on a 1,000-mile, weekend-long road trip to use Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Veronica may have her abortion. Car.

Director and screenwriter Rachel Lee Goldberg told Buzzfeed News that she feels there is “a real urgency” at this cultural moment to make films about abortion and reproductive rights because they are “under attack”.

“In my dream scenario, this film makes no sense to audiences in a few years because it seems absurd that one would have to travel 1,000 miles to get an abortion in a country where it is legally legal. But that’s clearly not the reality right now, “said Goldberg.” I think abortion should be normalized and destroyed, so Veronica’s journey and upheaval are not coming from her decision, But coming through the difficulty of access makes a lot of sense. ”

Ursula Coyote / HBO Max

Rachel Lee Goldberg on the set of Unpregnant With Haley Lou Richardson.

Goldberg said he read a manuscript Unpregnant It was first published in September 2019 as a YA novel written by Jenny Hendrix and Ted Caplan.

Another significant change from the book to the film adaptation was the role of Veronica’s boyfriend Kevin (Alex McNicoll). In the novel, Kevin pierces the condom that he and Veronica use when they try to get her pregnant and try to trap her to leave college and leave her. In the film, Kevin does not tell Veronica that a condom breaks.

Goldberg stated, “Intentional assault in a condom is really sexual assault,” and she wanted to find “a more complex and complex version of Kevin” for the film to understand why Veronica would date him in the first place. Still working.

“She can be with someone who is not the right person for her,” she said. “Kevin is incredibly insecure and the wrong person for him, but he’s not bad.”

Goldberg said that he drew from his own experiences while working in the film. Goldberg stated that due to the fact that Veronica’s character was linked to the way she was conditioned, Goldberg stated that she was having an abortion in her twenties. However, he had nothing to do with Veronica, but the fact that Goldberg used for abortion.

“I think that people can have a range of different emotions and journeys to miscarry, and it was an easy way to portray it in this film,” Goldberg said. “For Veronica, conflict comes with travel.”

Veronica and Bailey face their fair share of obstacles en route to Albuquerque. There Bailey’s car issue is actually related to her mother’s boyfriend, and since she took it without permission, police came looking for them. It prompts high school people to interrupt a ride with a group of people found at a dinner, which eventually brings them to a carnival where a seemingly innocent couple offers them a ride to Albuquerque Does. Veronica and Bailey do not realize that the couple are anti-abortion activists who try to hold Veronica hostage for the girls in her house to prevent her from miscarriage, so that she escapes.

All their Sheenigans mix with humor and tie the characters together as friends. While sometimes funny, the issues they face are also the difficulty between Veronica and her miscarriage.

“Certainly the odds themselves are entertaining and funny and wild, but there’s definitely a big point about how hard it is for her to get an abortion,” Goldberg said. “The point is: look at how hard it is for her to actually do something she knows she wants to do and legally she should be allowed to do.”

Goldberg said he visited a planned parenthood clinic in Los Angeles to research each step of the process so that he could correctly portray onscreen abortions from Veronica’s point of view.

The director stated that she had taken a pill when she had an abortion, so when she came to know all the details involved in the surgical procedure, she was “fascinated” and had an “aha” in reference to how the abortion was portrayed. Moment “. View.

Goldberg said “it would feel like a cop-out” not to show the full scope of the experience that led to Unpregnant To include a sequence of scenes on screen while the abortion provider is explaining each stage in the background.

“When I was in Planned Parenthood, I realized that we needed to show it all. There is nothing we should not show or which we should cut. What we are saying in the film is that it is a good thing, there is information here, and it is something that should just be destroyed and normalized, ”she said. “And also from a character’s perspective, this is what we’re doing the whole time, trying to get to this place, so I don’t want to leave my hero Veronica in that moment. I want to be with her And want to see his feelings and see his feelings. ”

Goldberg said that it also worries for Bailey’s character while she waits for Veronica, as she “has no idea of ​​what she is waiting for – it’s a mystery.”

Once the two are reunited, Bailey asks that Veronica’s spirit, to which she replies bluntly, is “relieved and hungry.” Veronica does not have a depressed or painful overtones after her miscarriage; The girls go ahead and dance.

“The specific and personal experience I can draw from is my own, and after the miscarriage, I was relieved to no longer be pregnant,” Goldberg said. “And life is gone.”

Even though Veronica did not want to tell her mother about her pregnancy or miscarriage, she eventually calls him from Albuquerque because the girls need help at a plane home.

Goldberg stated that Veronica’s mother may not agree with her decision, but she wanted to include a scene between the two characters where the mother still shows her daughter that she loves and supports him.

“Veronica has gone through this journey from the beginning of the film where she knows what she wants to do, but feels ashamed and feels that she can’t talk about it and knows that her mother doesn’t approve of it Is, so she doesn’t. “Goldberg said,” He wants to bring her. “Then by the end of the film, she’s mature and she’s grown up in herself and she’s more confident. We Let’s see that Veronica’s mother loves him and she wants him to know that she is there for him even when he disagrees with her. ”

When the weekend ends, Veronica and Bailey return to school on Monday as friends, something that was not possible for both characters at the beginning of the film. Goldberg said that the focus Unpregnant Veronica’s physical journey to her abortion is about, but eventually the film is also about female friendship.

“The heart of the film is about the two of them and their relationship,” she said. “Of course, I’m a passionate advocate of reproductive rights, but this is a film about two ex-best friends becoming best friends again, so that’s when we had a lot of discussion about abortion and about the process And how will it be portrayed? Much of the film’s effort was spent on these characters, their relationships and the truth on it. ”

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