Ed Helms Says Having a Baby Via Surrogate in ‘Together Together’ ‘Feels So Natural’ (Video)

Sundance 2021: “Why isn’t this told more?” asks the comedian who plays a single father having a baby, at TheWrap’s Studio at Sundance

Last Updated: February 3, 2021 @ 9:14 PM

Movies that deal with the idea of a ticking biological clock tend to focus on motherhood. But “Together Together” approaches it from a different direction — what if we see it from the father’s point of view? Ed Helms, who plays the father in writer-director Nikole Beckwith’s satire which screened at the Sundance Film Festival, thinks it makes lots of sense.

“I think what’s so powerful and resonant about this story is that it isn’t something that I think most people are familiar with or would even conjure up,” ¬†Helms told TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman at TheWrap’s Studio at Sundance presented by NFP and National Geographic. “And yet, in the execution, it feels so natural and right.”

He continued: “I think what is so cool about what Nikole has tapped into… is a story that kind of begs the question why isn’t this told more. The answer to that, which is addressed in all kinds of humorous and poignant ways in the movie, is a comment on our cultural expectations, how these conversations generally go in our lives, all the assumptions that are just baked into us culturally.”

Beckwith said she wanted to challenge audience’s presumptions with the film.

“We’re very familiar with stories of women doing whatever it takes to be mothers, but we don’t usually shine a light on the male biological clock, a guy’s drive to be a dad which exists,” Beckwith said. “So I wanted to tell that story and tell a kind of positive, hopeful surrogacy story.”

She added: “It’s more and more becoming a part of the way families are created and I think that usually when we’re hearing a story about a surrogate, there’s these moments of melancholy where the central conflict tends to be, ‘Oh, but now how am I possibly going to give up this baby? I’m a woman and I’m meant to be a mother.

“I’m sure that happens and that is part of a spectrum of experience for surrogacy, but there’s a whole other pull where there’s a lot of positivity, a lot of hope, and a different vibe, so I wanted to tell that story.”

“Together Together” centers on 26-year-old Anna (Patti Harrison), who becomes the surrogate to a single, middle-aged app designer named Matt (Helms).

TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde wrote in his review of “Together Together,” that Harrison delivers a star-making performance in the film. What attracted Harrison to the project is how the film eschews rom-com conventions.

“I think what’s really intriguing about the movie to me is that it could on paper at first look like it’s going to be a very conventional kind of rom-com, will they, won’t they, sort of situation,” said Harrison. “It fleshes out laterally in such an interesting way, it explores all these other spaces of these characters.”

“Together Together” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by Bleecker Street.

Watch Sharon Waxman’s full interview with director Nikole Beckwith, and stars Ed Helms and Patti Harrison in the video above.