Spoiler alert! This story contains important details about the end of Hulu’s “False Positive”.
Most adults spend their birthdays having dinner or having a drink with friends and loved ones.
Ilana Glazer, meanwhile, sounded in 32 covered in fake blood on the set of her spooky new horror thriller “False Positive” (now streaming on Hulu). The actress was filming a climactic scene in which her character, Lucy, walks away from the fertility clinic where she just killed the sinister Dr. Hindle (Pierce Brosnan), who inseminated her without her knowing it.
“I was like, ‘This is an almost psychotic way to celebrate your birthday,’” Glazer, now 34, recalls, laughing. “I think I needed a cigarette after – I remember it. It was so disturbing.”
“False Positive” is a full 180 for Glazer, who is best known as the co-creator and star of Comedy Central’s “Broad City”, which completed its crazy five-season run in 2019. It’s on this show that she met John Lee, who directed a handful of episodes and co-wrote “False Positive” with Glazer. The film takes up the 1968 horror classic “Rosemary’s Baby” as well as “Peter Pan”, exploring the topical subject of how women can be robbed of their power over their own bodies by a patriarchal health care system.
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After battling infertility for months, Lucy makes an appointment with top specialist Dr Hindle, a friend and former mentor of her husband Adrian (Justin Theroux). But Lucy suspects that something is wrong when she finds out she is pregnant with triplets and begins to hallucinate. Later, she is told that it is a high risk pregnancy and that she must decide between keeping the two boys or a girl. Lucy chooses the girl, whom she names Wendy, but after giving birth to the babies, finds out that Hindle saved the boys instead.
To make matters worse, Adrian and the nurses were well aware that Hindle was using her own sperm to impregnate Lucy and other IVF patients. Devastated, angry, and spattered with Hindle’s blood after killing him, Lucy asks Adrian to take the twins and leave. The film ends with Lucy crying and breastfeeding her deceased daughter’s fetus saying “Who am I?” musical pieces “Peter Pan” by Leonard Bernstein.
USA TODAY caught up with director Lee and Glazer, who is pregnant with her first child with husband David Rooklin, to discuss this haunting ending and more.
(Modified for length and clarity.)
Question: What sparked the idea for this film?
John Lee: My wife and I had some difficulty getting pregnant the first time around and I was reading “Peter Pan” at the time. There is this section where the parents were just waiting in the children’s room looking out the window, anticipating the return of the children. That, to me, was just the darkest type of notion. It made me realize that the whole book is about a tragedy and that Neverland is actually an illusion. It really made me understand, “Oh, something terrible happened to these children: they were either kidnapped or thrown out the window.”
We were going through the emotions of a miscarriage and understanding what it means to us. We were able to have two daughters, but this memory is still present and floats in our heads. So it was all swirling around, and I just started to find pictures and see how kind of lost you are when facing pregnancy in this country. There really hasn’t been a story that has examined this feeling of confusion and loss. “Rosemary’s Baby” is one, but it goes to such a fantastic place and I wanted to stay more grounded.
Q: The term “mom’s brain” is used frequently by Adrian and other characters, as a way to infantilize Lucy and dismiss her feelings that something is wrong. How has your own pregnancy changed your perception of this term?
Ilana Glazer: “Mommy Brain” was actually a title we were considering. But personally, I haven’t really experienced that. I think I protected myself from it, especially because I made this film a few years before entering my journey of human creation. (Laughs.) I really looked for demisogynous pregnancy education. I spent so much time thinking about these types of violations that I really put myself in place to protect myself from them. Because it’s really difficult and vulnerable and it takes so much strength to get pregnant, and I’m just scared of going through childbirth.
And it’s just too upsetting. I found myself even angrier with power structures and even angrier with the system we live in where women are second class citizens in all socioeconomic statuses, on a gradient of wealth, race. and class. I’m more angry in my body because it’s going through this experience and I think it also made me more careful to dodge that kind of (expletive).
Q: How did you end up on the twist that Dr. Hindle impregnated Lucy?
Lee:Fertility doctors do this fairly regularly, and Ilana and I (learned) from writing that it’s not necessarily illegal, depending on how they do it. Some of them were written off, but for some of them nothing really happened to them. And the pressure on the parents, like, what do you do? You cannot return the child. It’s the complexity of the injustice and the pride of these doctors to do this.
(With Dr. Hindle) it wasn’t just that he was the father – it was that he wanted boys and made him have boys. So it’s not just a twist, but two moments that make you realize that this is a bigger problem. It’s the compound, “Oh, (expletive), men make women do whatever they want.”
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Q: Much of this movie is about loss: Lucy mourns her mother and wants that bond with her own daughter. Was it really moving for you to shoot the final scene of Lucy breastfeeding Wendy?
Glazier: Yes it was. I was really in a moment of loss. It was right after “Broad City” stopped airing, and just as “Broad City” started airing, I lost one of my best friends and never had that experience. before. So this moment was for me a matter of loss. I mean, the end of “Broad City” was pretty emotional for Abbi (Jacobson) and me, then getting into “False Positive” was a gift because it became that container for me to exercise. my feelings. Both exercise and exorcise, I guess. I really had that experience which I think comes more with the drama. I was really there at the time.