'Preggoland' Star Sonja Bennett On How Motherhood Is "The Most Giant Clique In The World"
Making friends as a child is easy. Growing up and going to school every day, your peers become the people you spend time with on evenings and weekends. Almost by accident, you form a group of friends without even trying. But making friends as an adult, once your schooling and extracurriculars are behind you, can be particularly challenging. "I have always had a hard time making friends. Especially female ones," says Sonja Bennett, the writer and star of 2015's Preggoland . "I’ve always daydreamed about being part of a grown up all girls clique, a la Sex in the City, where we travel like a friend amoeba — meeting up for coffee every day and trying on bras together."
Preggoland, co-starring James Caan, Danny Trejo, and Paul Campbell, surrounds a 35-year-old woman who fakes pregnancy to fit in with her friends. When Ruth (Bennett) ruins her friend's baby shower with inappropriate antics, all the mothers present defriend her. But by accident, one mother thinks Ruth herself is pregnant, and she is inexplicably welcomed back into the group. One thing leads to another, and the little white lie becomes a big, fat, rotund lie. Even her employer (who she has a crush on), and her father think she's with child.
"Sometimes I would meet a woman at the gym or in an acting class and I would think 'this is a cool chick, I think we have a real connection!' So I'd say: 'We should totally hang sometime.' And in an instant the cool chick’s smile has dropped and I realize, 'Shit, she thinks I’m a lesbian. Or a desperate weirdo.' And our banter will never be the same again."
Bennett initially gave up on her quest for "proactive friendship." But when she got pregnant, other moms to be and mothers went out of their way to befriend her. "I was shocked at how women were now so friendly and open, how they would so readily serve up personal stories involving their bodily fluids," she says. "I knew I had to write something that explored of the most giant clique in the world: motherhood."
So she spent the next three years crafting Preggoland, a project surrounding the bonds of motherhood, and ultimately a "vehicle for myself to resuscitate my dying career," Bennett says. "Being an actress in your 30s kind of sucks, and writing Preggoland was my crack at being proactive about my career and keeping my mind busy so I didn’t get bitter-actress-itis which I was in serious danger of catching," she admits. "And the beautiful thing is, I fell is love with writing in the process. So even though I still want to be a movie star like everyone else, I could be just as happy being a full time writer now."
For those that see the film, Bennett's goal is clear: "I want to start a discussion about why so much of adult women’s identity is wrapped in motherhood, and how we treat childless women in their 30s and beyond."
See Preggoland in theaters and on-demand May 8. Watch the trailer below:
Images: Optic Nerve Films