Alison Reid, veteran Hollywood stunt coordinator, speaks to The Korea Times about her feature film debut, “The Baby Formula.” The comic mockumentary drew packed screenings at the International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul, which comes to a close Thursday. / Korea Times Photo by Lee Hyo-won
By Lee Hyo-won
Imagine a world where children are fatherless in the procreative process. In the mockumentary ``The Baby Formula,'' a lesbian couple succeeds in conceiving children of its own genetic mix.
The film's notion of creating fake sperm from a woman's skin particle, however, isn't completely outlandish. ``Baby'' is a classic mix of fiction and reality.
``The science is actually accurate and was successful in tests with mice. The (actresses') pregnancy was real, too,'' Alison Reid, the veteran Hollywood stuntwoman-turned-director, told The Korea Times in a recent interview. The Canadian filmmaker has been touring the festival circuit with her feature film debut and was in town for the 11th International Women's Film Festival in Seoul (IWFFIS).
``Until recently, it has been impossible for gay couples to conceive of the idea of being able to combine their genetics and have their own biological children. That has always struck me as sad. When I read an article about some science that made it possible to create offspring from two female mice, it resonated with me, and inspired me to make this film,'' Reid said in a statement.
The director spoke with those involved with related research all over the world. ``For the purposes of the story, we have assumed that the science is further along than it is in real life, however the scientific explanations are accurate. This scientific backdrop becomes a pallet for a story that is ultimately about family, and the common ground facing us all despite our diversity,'' she said.
``Succubus,'' a short prequel to ``Baby'' screened at last year's IWFFIS, traced the efforts of the same two characters, Athena and Lileth, to have their own biological child. Interestingly enough, both actresses became pregnant ― happily married to men in real life, they conceived children in the traditional way. The film assumes that such lesbian mothers can only have daughters, and both actresses gave birth to the baby girls that appear in the movie.
A scene from “The Baby Formula”
``Life was imitating art,'' said the director. ``We were able to take advantage of the pregnancy and show the 10-month period and the real babies at the end. When we were rehearsing the scene where Athena's water breaks, Angela Vint (who plays Athena) actually had her water break,'' she said.
Science may be stranger than fiction, but the movie's utter believability shines through. Effervescent characters draw viewers into the story, which lacks male bashing or ``feminazism.'' In ``Baby,'' two geek stem cell specialists claim that their breakthrough scientific experiment is not trying to ``make men obsolete'' but rather simply render them ``unnecessary.'' One day, women may become unnecessary in procreation, they add.
``The film is done in a non-threatening way so people wouldn't be put off by it,'' said Reid. The delightful, ticklishly funny mockumentary drew packed screenings in Seoul, and one middle-aged male audience member found the story pleasantly surprising despite the fact that he came from ``a different generation.''
The warm reception is great, said Reid, but she was actually hoping for some negativity. ``Right wing protesters would be good PR for the film,'' she said, smiling. The director hopes to start a TV series starring the same actors.
Will her next feature film be another dramedy? ``No, it won't be as funny,'' she said. But it will involve a love triangle set inside, rather appropriately for the stunt specialist, ``a crazy, extreme stunt world.''
Reid coordinated stunt sequences in major Hollywood films such as ``Blindness'' and doubled for Monica Bellucci in ``Shoot 'Em Up.'' She said she's vigorously pursued ``excitement and the adrenaline'' ever since her first stunt when she was 17. Getting caught in explosions and car crash sequences ``had its moments,'' including neck and knee injuries and burns, but also provided insight into the world of directing.
For more information about ``Baby,'' visit www.thebabyformulamovie.com.
The IWFFIS comes to a close Thursday. The closing ceremony at 7 p.m. at Artreon in Sinchon will feature award-winning films of the Asian Short Film & Video Competition. Visit www.wffis.or.kr.