“It’s important to put as many different opinions that women hold about motherhood on the spectrum”
BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY SKY UK LTD
Sky’s upcoming comedy-horror limited series, The Baby, follows Natasha (Michelle de Swarte) as she goes from being frustrated that all her closest friends are having babies. The last thing she expects is to find herself having to look after a manipulative, sinister and eerily cute baby who twists Natasha’s life into a nightmare. It’s here, queer and full of fear (and plenty of laughs).
Michelle spoke to DIVA about what it was like taking on the leading role, how the show presented motherhood and what she hopes audiences take away from it.
DIVA: What attracted you to take the role and what did you most enjoy about getting to portray Natasha?
Michelle: What most attracted me to the role of Natasha was just how “no fucks given” is her approach to things. And you can tell that she’s complex, but you can also tell that she’s fun and she means something to her friend group. Even though, we see that it’s complicated. I liked that she was a layered character, doesn’t do anything cutesy and she just seems quite fearless. She was a joy to be able to play.
We see a lot of different attitudes to motherhood presented in the show. Firstly, within the friendship group. And then as we get to meet more characters as well. What are your thoughts on how the show handled this?
It’s important to put as many different opinions that women hold about motherhood on the spectrum. You want it to be multifaceted. You want to understand that some women want children, some women have children – whether they wanted them or not. Some women have no desire to have kids. And all those reasons, thoughts and opinions should be heard at some point. We should have an understanding of that and we shouldn’t be suspicious of a woman when she says, “I don’t want children”, nor should we be suspicious of anyone when they say, “I really do want kids”.
Too often queerness is left outside of the conversations surrounding motherhood in media as well. How do you feel about the way queerness is presented in The Baby?
I think that The Baby does a good job of starting up conversations and offering up more examples of some of the joys and struggles that go into being a caregiver. I think that the story arc of the of the queer couple in the show is important – there’s layers obviously, so it’s not solely about that – but it’s important to understand some of the struggles that happen.
I really loved watching the relationship dynamic between Natasha and Bobbi. What was it like exploring this sibling dynamic in the show?
It was an honour, actually. Amber Grappy, who plays Bobbi, was such a joy to work with, and we had a lot of time to really discuss why the dynamics are the way that they are. Natasha was a caregiver to Bobbi and she kind of acts like Bobbi owes her something. I think that for Natasha, something was missing, there was something taken away. And so, I think their relationship is really complex, there’s a lot of compassion and love in there. And they also regress quite a lot when they’re together. And all of those things are really fun to play with such a gifted, talented actor like Amber. I got to learn a lot from watching her.
On a side note, I also loved that Bobbi wore a Lucy & Yak jumpsuit, because myself and many DIVA readers are big fans of Lucy & Yak!
Well, that is down to now-BAFTA winner PC Williams, who just won a BAFTA for Lady Parts. She’s amazing and she really thought about everyone’s character and moves – like the wardrobe and the style.
What do you hope viewers take away from the show?
I hope that what viewers can take away from it is feeling more comfortable in starting conversations with your friends and loved ones around the topics that are highlighted in the show because some of them are difficult, but some of them are important conversations that are probably worth having with people. Sometimes when you’re in a dark place, it can feel really isolating and when you can watch a show that shows some of these things with horror and humour, it can be like a nice springboard to start conversations with people because you can base it around the show. So, hopefully it can make it a bit easier if there’s things that you want to talk about with people.
The Baby premieres on Sky on 7 July.
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