“Massage the area daily to help you prep for the great stretch of delivery.” -Lamaze Teacher
“Excuse me, can I just spray a little Pam down in that area before the baby comes out?” -Angie
For costume designer Renée Ehrlich Kalfus, creating a wardrobe for the characters was simplified by having the writer of the film on set every day. “Michael, being not only the director but the writer, knows his story cold,” she remembers. In just a 45-day shooting schedule, Kalfus and her team created costumes for the 57 days contained within the story, including a wardrobe that grew with Angie's expanding prosthetic belly and Kate's softening up.
For Fey's character, Kalfus and McCullers discussed clothing to fit the modern career woman. “We talked about that precision-type person,” says the designer. “Kate's very exacting, but has a softer edge.” A vice president of Round Earth Organic Market, Kate's clothing is corporate, but with a twist-created by mixing dark skirts or pants with a print blouse.”
As for Poehler's character, says Kalfus, “Angie is from the suburbs of Philly, and is somebody who obviously keeps up with pop culture. Michael said, `Wouldn't it be fun if there were some hip-hop influence?'” The trick was to make a woman in a prosthetic belly grinding on the dance floor very hip.
Angie is from a working-class background, yet has higher aspirations for herself. “She's got this creative side,” describes the designer. Angie wants to get into fashion school, and she makes homemade, on-the-cheap, reconstructed clothing,” Kalfus brought in a high-end designer's version of hip-hop clothes for Angie, which Poehler tried on. Even though she looked great, Poehler decided that Angie, a girl of few means, would not don designer clothes. “Amy really went into the inexpensive stuff,” Kalfus says. “Everything that Angie wears is $14.”
The design team came up with a key inspiration for Angie's clothes: singer Gwen Stefani, known for her witty, brightly colored clothing. “I thought about Gwen as a real icon that Angie would go after,” says Kalfus. “Like Angie, she's from a suburban upbringing, and she's meshed hip-hop and creativity.” Poehler incorporated Stefani as Angie's icon into the story. “Once I presented the idea to Amy, she just ran with it,” recalls the designer.
The other actors in the film were collaborative in the design process, including Steve Martin, who came up with the idea that his character of Barry should wear a ponytail and expensive business suits. “He said, `I think I have these really fabulous suits; I'm a rich man,'” says Kalfus. “So we put him in great suits and fabulous shoes with no socks, some espadrilles in hemp, with all the right `politically-correct' fabrics. He put on the wig for our first fitting, which was really great, and it worked.”
Furthermore, Sigourney Weaver brought a take to her character that was not in the first drafts of the script. Originally conceived as a steely businesswoman, Chaffee Bicknell was more complex to Weaver; she came to Kalfus with the idea of showing a maternal side to this powerful woman. “Sigourney had an idea that Chaffee was really selling the baby idea-that there was this fuzzier, softer side to her,” explains Kalfus. So in the end, Chaffee is seen with minimal makeup, wearing expensive cashmere sweater sets, fine linen blouses, silk pants and very good shoes, and sporting tiny baby-themed pins worth thousands of dollars.”
Production wrapped, prosthetic stomachs and dressing pads removed, the cast and crew of Baby Mama returned to their day jobs on 30 Rock, SNL and scattered to the winds. Reflecting on the comedy, producer Lorne Michaels says, “The film is analogous, on a certain level, to Planes, Trains & Automobiles, or any of those movies where two people who shouldn't be together are forced to learn a little something.” Concludes first-time director Michael McCullers of the project he began several years ago and into which another member of his family was born: “I hope the audience enjoys the contrast of these two characters, and the warm, but messy, relationship they share.”