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Early Delivery: Katherine Heigl Gets ‘Knocked Up’ With ‘Virgin’ Helmer

After helping Steve Carell finally lose his cherry, it’s only fitting that writer-director Judd Apatow would turn his attention to helping Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl get Knocked Up by his frequent collaborator Seth Rogen.

On the big screen, of course.

Knocked Up, the latest entry from the man behind The 40 Year-Old Virgin, follows the coupling of an ambitious entertainment reporter climbing the corporate ladder (Heigl) and a good-hearted loser who still hasn’t grown up and whose only form of income is a website that locates nude celebrities on film (Rogen). After a wild night of celebrating her most recent promotion, the reporter ends up in a family way. Confronting with impending parenthood, the polar-opposite pair attempt to essentially date backwards in an effort to get to know one another before the blessed event.

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Hollywood.com caught up with Heigl on the set of the film—just after she ditched the enormous prosthetic tummy she wears to simulate her impending motherhood—and spilled as much as she could about the film, which sounds positively pregnant with comedic possibility.

Hollywood.com: Is this your costume?
Katherine Heigl: Yeah. This was my costume that I had a nine-month belly on that they just took off me, so it’s all stretched out right now.

HW: How is it wearing that fake belly?
KH: It’s not that bad. It’s pretty light, so it’s not that heavy or anything, and it kind of forces you to waddle a little bit, but that’s probably a good thing, because it keeps you in character. It smells bad, and that’s the only real problem I had with it. That only happens if the guys making them don’t have enough time the night before where you have to dry it out properly and then you get it on you and it just smells rotten and it’s awful and everybody around you is like, “Oh, Kate’s on set with her belly” and it’s disgusting. They make that thing every single day. And it looks so lifelike. It has veins in it. It’s weird. It’s bizarre. But it was fun.

HW: How would you describe the tone of this movie?
KH: Silly. What I like about Judd and his style is that he’s taking things stuff that everybody can relate to—relationship issues and hormone issues—and kind of exaggerating it enough to be funny. But it’s still honest and realistic and takes a very sort of hard look at what it’s like to be in a situation like this and make it work, and try to be responsible and try to do the right thing and try to be a grown-up, because you’re about to have a baby, but still being a child in a lot of ways. It’s kind of right up my alley as far as the humor goes, but it’s also very sort of poignant and honest.

HW: Was there any hesitation to do it because of his style humor?
KH: Not at all. I was psyched! I’m a huge 40 Year-Old Virgin fan. I’d seen it like three times, in theaters. I didn’t even wait for the DVD. I was just going back with my friends and my family and then my friends again. So when I got the call to audition for the part, I was just really nervous and really excited to meet these people who made one of my favorite movies. And I loved the script immediately. I thought it was super funny, and again it was just my kind of humor. I’m a big Tommy Boy fan and I like really funny movies. And so these guys—we sit around all day just thinking of funny things to say and joking around. We kind of just sit out on the lawn in the sun and hang out between takes. It has a very family vibe here. Everybody kind of knows one another and has worked with each other before, and they’ve been really wonderfully accepting of me and bringing me into the fold.

HW: You play an entertainment journalist in the film—you got to turn the tables on a red carpet recently.
KH: I went to the MTV Movie Awards as a journalist for E! and it was really bizarre, because I was actually interviewing Jessica Alba and Owen Wilson and Steve Carell, who had all agreed to do it for the fun of the film, and I was kind of standing behind the ropes with everybody else trying to get elbow room, like “Hey, get out of my shot.” It was really fun. I feel like the waiting must be so boring, just waiting and waiting for somebody to show up and give you an interview and then having to shout out people’s names, “Oh wait, will you come back and give me an interview…” You know, it’s a little, “Oh God, this is embarrassing.” It’s a tough job. I wouldn’t want to do it.

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HW: What does your character find to like about Seth Rogen‘s character?
KH: I think that what she realizes pretty early on, when they kind of start dating to see if it’s going to go anywhere and if they can make it work, is that he’s a really nice guy with a big heart and he means well. He’s a bit of a doof and he makes some sort of silly and stupid choices, but ultimately he means well, and I think she starts to get his sense of humor. In think in the beginning they’re kind of off, they don’t get each other and she doesn’t get his jokes and thinks he’s serious and is offensive and whatever. And then she starts to realize, “Oh he’s actually really funny and charming in his own way and very kind, good person.”

HW: How do the two of you end up getting together initially?
It’s just a one-night stand. She goes out to celebrate her promotion because they made her an on-air interviewer and she’s all excited about it, and she goes out with her sister to celebrate at a club downtown and have too much to drink and she brings home Ben. And wakes up with Ben. And then she has to call Ben eight weeks later via website. She doesn’t even have his cell phone number. She just has to look him up on the web. It’s bad.

HW: What’s the dynamic on the set with all those guys having worked together so much?
KH: They toss a lot of ideas out and they’re always running jokes through each other and seeing what will work and what doesn’t work. It’s like hanging out with a bunch of friends, because they know each other so well. Seth has worked with Judd since he was 16 and Paul since Anchorman. So they all have a very close relationship. They get each other really well and they get each other’s humor, and so I think it just makes the jokes that much funnier. And they’re all very sort of good at finding the right jokes for the right person, because everybody’s sort of got their own style. I think my favorite person on set is Leslie [Mann, Apatow’s wife and frequent actor in his films], who is my new best friend. She’s just… It’s been such a dream, because she is 1) unbelievably funny and charming and wonderful and 2) because we play sisters, there’s a dynamic there that you kind of want to be able to create on screen, a chemistry or whatever and it’s been sort of effortless. She’s one of those people that you immediately connect to and feel great with and have a good time and can talk about anything with. So we’ve had a lot of fun sort of upping the ante on our sister roles and hanging out constantly. We just call it “We’re working. We’re preparing. You need us? We’re hanging out and smoking, but we’re preparing.”

HW: Was there a hazing ritual?
No, no. Thank God, No. I couldn’t handle that. They probably thought about it and thought twice.

HW: What would Judd , Seth and Paul say about your improv skills?
I don’t ask. I’m scared. This is all very, very new for me. I had never done improv. I was not comfortable with it at all. I was really terrified, because you’re putting so much more of yourself out there and if it’s not funny, it’s on you. It’s not because the lines weren’t funny, it’s because you weren’t funny. So that’s a little intimidating. I’ve tried, as we’ve sort of gotten into the flow of things, to be more risky and to take more chances with it and just to get into the fray and I definitely feel more confident about it than in the beginning, but I don’t know. We’ll have to see how it turns out. Maybe they’ll edit it really well.

HW: Has playing this expectant mother give you any thoughts toward motherhood?
KH: It’s such a different dynamic than what I’m hoping it will be for me that it doesn’t even kind of register that this is how it would be. Do you know what I mean? It’s so different. I’m hoping to get married and have a few years of marriage and then maybe start thinking children. I’ve always wanted to have a family. I’ve always wanted to have children. So it’s in the cards if it’s in the cards. I think more than that, it’s being around Judd and Leslie’s kids that make me kind of go ‘Oh, this looks great. This is so domestic and blissful and lovely.’

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HW: Could you see yourself doing this for the next few years, going straight from the show to movies on hiatus without breaks?
KH: I don’t know. I’m exhausted. I do think it’s one of those situations, my agent likes to say it’s a high-class problem. I spent a lot of years out of work, so I’d rather be tired and over-worked than bored and under-worked. It’s been an amazing year. I’d like to believe that next year I’d get a couple weeks off to at least go to Cabo or something, but if a great movie comes along and I have an opportunity to be a part of it, I don’t see myself—no matter how tired I am—being able to turn that opportunity down. It’s just they don’t come around that often, and this is just that great time in my life when I just want to jump on it. And it won’t last forever.

HW: You just got engaged to Josh Kelly. When would you fit everything that follows that into your crazy schedule?
KH: Exactly—I don’t know. We haven’t set a date yet, but it’s all about trying to figure out: “OK, when’s our Christmas break? When’s our hiatus? When do I have time?” No honeymoon, just a quickie wedding.

Reporting by Jed Dreben

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