When you watch the trailer for HBO Max’s Unpregnant, a coming-of-age comedy/drama about a girl traveling with her friend to New Mexico to get an abortion, probably a slew of road trip movies come to mind. Some popular choices include Thelma & Louise, National Lampoon’s Vacation, and Dumb & Dumber. But, as it turns out, the director had another movie as an inspiration in mind—Mad Max: Fury Road.
There’s been a host of hilarious and entertaining road trip movies. At this point, it might seem nigh-impossible to try to reinvent the genre, much less tell an interesting story within it. But while interviewing with ReelBlend, Unpregnant’s director Rachel Lee Goldenberg explained how she up for the challenge and drew from a number of influences, especially the left-field inspiration of Mad Max: Fury Road. Here’s what she had to say:
Because I love playing with genres, I thought we played into and played against some [road-trip clichés]. For example, that moment where the girls are screaming out of the limo and Haley’s feeling so free. She throws her phone, and then they have to stop and get the phone. I like those little misdirects, where you play into a cliché and then turn it on its head. But my inspirations were – the road-trip movie that I was most inspired by was Thelma & Louise. Which is just one of my absolute favorite films. But then, you know, we’re drawing from Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and we’re drawing from Get Out, and from Mad Max: Fury Road. All of these different things! It’s really just about blending those different things and making it its own unique product that hopefully no one can say, ‘Hey, this is just like X movie!’
At first blush, Mad Max: Fury Road seems like a strange inspiration for Unpregnant’s genre, but the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. The characters are, after all, driving through the desert, and like Mad Max: Fury Road, it’s about women helping their pregnant friend escape the grip of a patriarchal leader. All Unpregnant needed was the Coma-Doof Warrior and they’d be set.
Unpregnant is primarily a comedy, which is where the comparisons to Mad Max: Fury Road converge. The movie is about 17-year-old Veronica (Haley Lu Richardson), aspiring to go to an Ivy League school, but discovers she’s pregnant. Afraid that could derail her dreams, she and ex-best friend Bailey (Barbie Ferreira) take a Trans-am to go on a road trip out to New Mexico to have an abortion, since that’s the only place closest where she can do it without telling her parents.
Unpregnant is available now on HBO Max. For more movie news, be sure to stay tuned to CinemaBlend.