There’s a moment in Snatched, the buddy comedy starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn, when Schumer’s seemingly sociopathic character decides she enjoys helping the Colombian women they’ve come across.
The audience isn’t sure what to think, because every situation she’s been met with in the film so far has ended in mayhem. She takes jugs of water and pours them into a communal tank for the mountain village, saying, “you know I got you, girl” to each woman who walks up. Goldie Hawn, playing her mother, watches with a wistful look and says, “Look at you, helping.” She hopes that her daughter has changed for the better; whether the audience has faith that the transformation is legit is another story.
“Emily is the villain in this story,” screenwriter Katie Dippold](https://www.inverse.com/article/18157-how-sexist-ghostbusters-backlash-shaped-the-reboot-movie) confirms. Dippold, who also wrote The Heat and the recent Ghostbusters reboot, explained that during the initial writing, Emily became the unskilled player in every scene; ultimately, Dippold let the story shape the character.
“It’s not as if these innocent women are dropped into a scary place; if Emily hadn’t been in each situation, everything would have been fine,” Dippold said. And some of the film’s funniest moments happen when Emily somehow finds the worst possible thing to do in every high stakes situation. Joining her, the American tourists, including Wanda Sykes, Joan Cusack, and Christopher Meloni, are the fools here, competing to see who’s the most knowledgable about the Amazon.
Goldie Hawn is the glowing heart at the center of Snatched, and Dippold says Linda is based on her own mother. “When I was a kid, I remember my mom was really fun and adventurous,” she says. “Halloween was always a big deal; she’d scare me and my sister … well, that’s not ha-ha fun … fun for her. At Thanksgiving, you’d look over and she’d have a green bean up her nose. A classic Mom bit.”
The sullen side of Hawn’s character was also inspired by Dippold’s mother, who went through a difficult last decade and a half or so.
“My parents divorced when I was in college, and though it was amicable — my dad got remarried and was doing great — I saw something shift in my mom. She got more cautious and cynical, and expected to be disappointed,” Dippold remembers. I kept thinking, ‘How do I shake this up?’ There was a part of me that wanted to do a throwback, classic-feeling adventure movie, so I put those ideas together. Ultimately, I wanted an R-rated mother-daughter movie.”
Next to Hawn’s Linda, Schumer does her usual bit, farting and stumbling around drunk, not noticing her “tit is out,” and washing her vagina in the hotel bathroom during a date. Dippold laughs when asked if Emily is supposed to be her. “Well, I didn’t think a studio movie with a big jungle budget would consider me all that fascinating,” she says. “But I do remember being the worst temp in the world in my 20s — I’d sneak in late all the time, and I’d immediately go downstairs and eat breakfast from the cafeteria before work. There was a part of me that felt reckless, so I tapped into that. I wanted her to be someone who’s a little more adolescent, stuck in arrested development. It’s clear she needs to grow up, and I hope the audience still roots for her to change.”
Lost in the middle of the jungle, Emily and Linda argue like a typical mother and daughter, but Emily gets quiet suddenly when Linda says she gave everything to her kids, leaving her with the “boring” personality Emily can’t stand. That scene transcends the fact that two female comedians are playing against each other onscreen. Anybody with a mother knows the feeling Amy Schumer transmits across her face — which a minor character later calls “puffy” — and Dippold’s genuine reading of her own mother shines through.
Snatched is in theaters now.