This week, we talked with Alexander Hammer, Director and Editor of Expecting Amy, Amy Schumer’s docuseries about her family, work, and HG pregnancy.
In the three part docuseries, Hammer’s skilled storytelling highlights Schumer’s heart and love for her family and work: Under the lights of a comedy tour and Schumer’s marriage to Chris Fischer, we see the story of a strong HG survivor. A woman fighting through months of misery and sickness, invasive medical care, and a complicated delivery, Schumer shows the spirit of HG moms, strong and amazing women!
HER: Why did you do this docuseries?
Alexander: It was an incredible opportunity to put a relatable and tangible perspective on what pregnancy is for women in the best and also most difficult times.
HER: What was it like working with Amy?
Alexander: Amy is a firecracker. She is fearless. Rather, she has fears, but Amy is incredibly brave and breaks through them. You can see it in the doc. She pushed for her most vulnerable and imperfect moments to be included because she knew that was the glue to the whole project. The hard stuff is what people relate to the most. It was a blast and an inspiration working with Amy! And Chris! And Gene!
HER: Did you know about HG before this project?
Alexander: I had never heard of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), at any point in my life, before this project. I’ve learned that it is life-altering. Even with the best medical care and guidance, it is a debilitating struggle. I have also learned that there is little research about HG outside of the HER Foundation and that most women who suffer from it are misdiagnosed, misdirected, and/or mistreated. And because of this, both the mother and baby are put at great risk.
HER: What is your goal for the docuseries?
Alexander: I think interweaving Amy’s particular experiences with her career, marriage, and day-to-day life put a very relatable, but entertaining, spin on pregnancy. I personally hope that the people who need to see it do so they know they are not alone. For everyone else, I hope they laugh and cry, and celebrate women and mothers. Learning while laughing.
HER: What would you tell people about HG that have never heard of it?
To watch the doc. Honestly. I am someone who never has and never will be put through HG’s torments. I could only do my best to explain how real it is. I learned most by seeing it first hand. I hope that our project finds the balance of entertaining and educating.
HER: What do you hope people will think or learn from watching?
Alexander: That woman are not alone, or crazy, or wrong. That pregnancy is not simply a miracle: it is hard, hard work, and women do not get the credit they deserve for creating and carrying life. I hope it inspires those around moms-to-be to have more empathy and respect, while motivating them to step up and support women.
Alexander Hammer is a respected Director, Editor, and Producer. In addition to directing and editing Expecting Amy, he has been working with Beyoncé for 10 years. He has also worked with artists such as Lizzo, Madonna, Taylor swift, Katy Perry, Nikki Minaj and more. Recently his project, Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé, won a Grammy for Best Music film.
HG is hyperemesis gravidarum: a potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease that may cause malnutrition, dehydration, and debility due to severe nausea and vomiting, and may cause long-term health issues for mom and baby.