“Babes” stars Ilana Glazer and Michelle Buteau get real about their 'gory' comedy about female friendship and pregnancy

"The way women talk authentically is often policed and seems raunchy if we're just being ourselves," Glazer tells Entertainment Weekly.

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Ilana Glazer was pregnant with her first child when her manager, Susie Fox, shared a "broad vision," as Glazer recalls to Entertainment Weekly, for a movie about best friends navigating their co-dependent dynamic while contending with motherhood.

That seed of an idea gestated into Babes, in theaters May 17. Glazer stars (and co-wrote the script with Josh Rabinowitz) as Eden, a yoga instructor and free spirit who finds herself pregnant by a guy (Stephan James) who she quickly realizes has relationship potential but turns out to be something very different. Her slightly older bestie, Dawn, already has one toddler and welcomes a new baby in the first act of the film.

<p>NEON</p> Ilana Glazer and Stephan James in 'Babes'


Ilana Glazer and Stephan James in 'Babes'

Related: Ilana Glazer and Michelle Buteau panic, laugh, and literally pull their hair out in new Babes trailer

After discussing with production company FilmNation a variety of actresses who could play Dawn, Glazer says she had to "take a beat and let the answer come to me, and Michelle Buteau arose in my heart and consciousness." Friends for 20 years now, Glazer admits she "can't believe we actually didn't even write that... It was perfect."

The only problem? Buteau had a very short window of availability before going off to film her Netflix series, Survival of the Thickest, based on her memoir. But she was determined to make Babes work, especially because of the people involved ("Ilana was like, 'You can do this, bitch, you can do this'") and what she'd get to explore as Dawn.

"I really responded to this friendship and their different walks of life and how they meet each other in the middle, these different stages of adulting and how you sort of lift each other up and also check each other at the same time," she explains of the draw. "It's also just a beautiful way of showcasing people wanting to grow their families that we don't always see. It feels like it's always from the male perspective of like, 'Oh, man, I knocked her up,' or, 'Oh boy, get your body back together,' or whatever unrealistic, patriarchal standard of having families is that we've seen a bunch. So I love Dawn's character because of all those things, but also: What does it look like when you're trying to have it all and you just don't have enough time in the day, in your life?"

Related: Ilana Glazer is ready for her next chapter

With all the elements in place, Glazer and Buteau, along with director Pamela Adlon, waste no time setting the comedic tone of the film, starting with Dawn going into labor while in a movie theater, then moving the action to a restaurant ('cause the lady wants to have a nice meal before giving birth, okay?!), and later crawling and screaming through the halls of the hospital.

"I've never been pregnant. That wasn't my journey," the actress and comedian, who is a mom to twins born via surrogate, tells EW, "but I have seen enough women in labor in my life. And also, I love physical comedy, and also I'm working with these creative geniuses like Ilana and Pamela, and so I'm just like, let's just play and see what happens."

<p>NEON</p> (L-R) Ilana Glazer and Michelle Buteau in 'Babes'


(L-R) Ilana Glazer and Michelle Buteau in 'Babes'

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What happens is a sequence that opens the door to a rarely seen dialog between women on screen. Glazer admits the audience at the movie's SXSW premiere laughed in all the places they hoped but also "seemed shocked" by what they were hearing and seeing.

"I grew up on Long Island. Michelle grew up in Jersey. We've both lived in the city for 20 years. Maybe we don't talk the same way people in Milwaukee talk, but they have their version of the way we talk," Glazer says. "The way women talk authentically is often policed and seems raunchy if we're just being ourselves. But for us, I think it was just very true to the way we see things."

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When they were shopping the script around town, Glazer says reactions were mixed — specifically to the film's brand of comedy. "People in the industry either got it or they didn't. They were like, 'This is blue,' and I was like, 'Blue? This is my life,'" she recalls of the conversations. "Also, pregnancy and motherhood, it's gory. We're so used to gore being expressed through violence rather than humanity — humanity that we all come from, that we're all experiencing in some degree. Off that initial experience with the script, it gave me peace in knowing that this story doesn't have to reach everybody, and it won't, but the people who are going to grab hold of it and never let go need this story the same way that me and Josh and Susie needed to tell it. And when Michelle and Pamela came on board, we all needed to tell this story."

Buteau agrees with Glazer's assessment that it "feels criminal" that women can't make the same jokes as men. "When people say words like 'raunchy,' I'm like, this is just real. And especially now, when all these egregious laws and women's bodies are under attack, this is when the arts are even more important [so] we can express what we are actually going through," Buteau says. "I think about Mary Tyler Moore fighting to wear pants in a show — thank God the needle has moved where we can actually talk about what's happening to our bodies. These are our bodies. I feel like this is definitely for those who need it to feel safe, seen, secure, entertained, and educated. That's why we call it comedy gold."

Babes also stars Oliver Platt, Hasan Minhaj, and John Carroll Lynch.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.