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How an NPR Story Inspired Amy Schumer’s Gross Tapeworm Scene in ‘Snatched’

Screenwriter Katie Dippold talks to TheWrap about working with Goldie Hawn and Schumer, and how she wanted a mother/daughter action comedy

(Spoiler alert: Please do not read on if you don’t want to know about the gross scene in “Snatched”)

When “Snatched” screenwriter was listening to NPR in her car a couple of years ago, little did she know that a story about a guinea worm would inspire one of the most memorable (and disgusting) scenes of the new comedy starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn.

“I do listening to an NPR story about someone having to pull a guinea worm from a woman’s nipple and it’s been stuck in my brain forever,” Katie Dippold told TheWrap.”When I started writing about the jungle, where Emily (Schumer) thought she was on this beautiful journey with rainbows and sunsets and stuff, I thought, ‘what would be my worst nightmare?’ And then it hit me — having a tapeworm is my nightmare.”

In “Snatched,” which hits theaters this Friday, mother-daughter duo Schumer and Hawn are lost in the Ecuadorian jungle running away from bad guys when Schumer contracts a tapeworm. A local doctor says they must lure out the worm with a piece of meat — and a gross scene in which a huge, CGI’d tapeworm comes crawling up her throat ensues.

“I didn’t expect it to happen either!” Dippold added, laughing.

“Snatched” follows Schumer after she breaks up with her boyfriend — or actually, he breaks up with her — and she has a non-refundable trip to Ecuador. After much debate, her mother, played by Hawn, decides to accompany her on the trip. Schumer is totally oblivious to the dangers that lurk outside of the resort, and soon, the women find themselves hunted by kidnappers. The film also stars Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack.

Dippold’s goal was to create a mother-daughter action comedy and to try “to find more roles for women.”

“I love mother-daughter movies and I wish there were more of them,” she said. “I really wanted a hard R-rated action comedy of a mother and a daughter. There are so many amazing dramatic actresses that are brilliant comedians in their ’60s and ’70s. And that’s the way this all started.”

And this movie also marked Hawn’s return to the big screen after a 15-year break (her last film was “The Banger Sisters” in 2002). But that didn’t stop Hawn from playing along and even giving her two cents on how certain scenes should go.

“To be honest, I couldn’t picture anyone for either of the characters — they were made up people in my head and Amy pushed for Goldie — for which I’m forever grateful,” she said. “There’s nothing she refused to do, she was very hands on in a truly wonderful way and I don’t know how many people there are like her who have done so many great movies. I feel like I got to learn from her and we would have rehearsals and go over the dialogue and I would discover, ‘oh this would be better that way, Goldie is right.’ She’s a brilliant person and she’s crazy funny! The joke about the cat statue was her idea!”

Dippold added, “She’s the gift of a lifetime.”

The screenwriter also only had great things to say about Schumer, who served as an executive producer on the project.

“She was the perfect person to come on board,” Dippold said. “I knew what I wanted the movie to be, and the first scene I wrote was when she’s cleaning herself down there and she makes eye contact with the guy. You figure out the tone of the movie with a scene or two so I knew I wanted it to be that way right away. Any other person wouldn’t have wanted to do that, but I wanted to try for something here and when Amy came on board, she embraced all that.”