There's a reason Jessica Biel is so convincing playing a woman about to give birth in her new indie drama The Book of Love—it's because she was about eight months pregnant when she shot the movie.
"We had five days to shoot you or else you couldn't fly," Book of Love's director and co-writer Bill Purple said last night during a Q&A with Biel (and moderated by yours truly) at the New Orleans Film Festival. "It was a scary time."
Biel laughed, "It was always good to be laying down at that point in my pregnancy."
Purple added, "We shot in February and it was like 30 degrees. Our crew buried heaters under the ground to keep Jessica warm. I felt so bad. It was like, 'I just don't want to induce. Roll as fast as we can." (Biel gave birth to her and Justin Timberlake's son Silas in April 2015).
In the film, Jason Sudeikis plays a New Orleans architect who befriends a homeless teen (Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams) after his pregnant wife (Biel) is in a fatal car accident. The movie, which was shot on location in New Orleans, will make you laugh and cry at the same time. It's an inspiring story about overcoming grief and finding your path.
Biel also serves as a producer on the film. The movie finally came together after about nine years of starts and do-overs. The cast also includes Mary Steenburgen, Paul Reiser and Orlando Jones.
The music in the film? From Mr. Timberlake!
"Basically, it was, 'You're going to do this or there's going to be a problem—and you're not going to get paid. Love you, mean it,'" Biel recalled with a big laugh. "Honestly, I think it's something he was really excited to do. He loved the script. He's been living with this script for a long time. I don't remember when Bill thought about it, but just one day he was like, 'I think this would be really cool. I wonder if he'd be interested.' And then I threatened his life."