A creepy baby lands from the sky and refuses to detach itself from you–and people end up dead in its presence….seems like a wild concept for a series, no?
It’s the focus of HBO and Sky’s new horror-comedy limited series, The Baby. Michelle De Swarte stars as 38-year-old Natasha, “who is furious that her closest friends are all having babies. But when she is unexpectedly landed with a baby of her own, her life dramatically implodes. Controlling, manipulative, but incredibly cute, the baby twists Natasha’s life into a surreal horror show. As she discovers the true extent of the baby’s deadly nature, Natasha makes increasingly desperate attempts to get rid of it. She doesn’t want a baby. But the baby definitely wants her.”
“When I first read the script, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I want this part,'” De Swarte said in a recent interview with Shadow and Act. “What I loved about it is that it was such a raw, honest take on motherhood. Like, all of us have had a moment with a close friend or a family member, where you’re like, ‘You’re right.’ And that person’s like, ‘I don’t know, man. I don’t know.’ I hadn’t seen anything that was about that for a whole series. And I also love horror films. I love the genre of horror. And obviously, I’m a stand-up comic. So to have those two things kind of together was a dream. I just thought [this] was such an interesting subject matter to dissect in this way.”
Through the horror-comedy of it all, there is a lot of deep commentary within the series about what society does to women by pushing the idea of motherhood on everyone.
“There is this idea that you’re meant to have this maternal instinct just by virtue of having a vagina,” she said. “It’s kind of ridiculous. And as we move on in society trying to break down gender norms and all of these kinds of like restrictions that bound us, I think this is a really refreshing take on what it is to be a caregiver– not even necessarily like a mother, but just like to look after someone. It’s not always amazing, it’s gonna be challenging and you’re gonna have to dig deep into your reserves of patience, love and affection.”
But in terms of motherhood and the idea of it, it is much different for Natasha and the reason why she reacts and the way that she does.
She explained, “Natasha is emotionally stunted and she’s emotionally stunted for a reason because she’s had to look after someone before she was an adult. And she’s had a lot of coping skills that probably served her well when she was younger. She hasn’t matured or advanced on those things. Her friends are sort of, growing faster in a lot of ways and this is a time for her to sort of really take stock and have a look at what’s important to her in order to grow and flourish. To me, that was super relatable. I definitely have my times where I took it personally if my friends couldn’t attend something because of being because they had families or they wanted me to go to their wedding even you know that these kinds of things that going on [laughs]. Accommodating other people’s lives that you love is an important lesson to learn about compromise and growth. I definitely could relate to Natasha being reluctant to get on board with some of these things that we all kind of have to deal with it at some point.”
It also has a lot to do with unresolved trauma, says the actress.
“If there are certain things in your childhood, if you don’t resolve them, you just get caught up in a loop, The baby’s in a very literal loop and Natasha is in an emotional loop. And all of these things are like, at some point, you really have to do the legwork to understand what your origin story is. I really kind of like that part of Natasha’s story.”
The Baby airs Sunday nights on HBO.