Anne Hathaway Rejected ‘Knocked Up’ Over Graphic Scene

Judd Apatow is a director responsible for many popular comedies over the years. One of the biggest movies that he helped create is Knocked Up, a raucous, outrageous comedy that riffed on concepts like parenting, pregnancy, childbirth, and family.

Released in 2007, Knocked Up became one of the biggest films of the year, thanks in large part to the realistic, hilarious performances given by the cast. At the forefront of the film was Katherine Heigl, an actress who became a major Hollywood power player after her work in Knocked Up.

As successful as she was in the movie, however, there was another actress who was courted for the part — an actress who eventually turned it down due to the graphic nature of the childbirth scene. 

What is ‘Knocked Up’ about?

Knocked Up is a comedy that ends up being surprisingly heartfelt as the plot progresses. The film follows the adventures of a slacker played by Seth Rogen, and the repercussions of a drunken one-night stand between Rogen’s character and a more successful woman, played by Katherine Heigl.

Ultimately, Heigl winds up pregnant after their misadventure and decides to keep the baby. The two mismatched characters, Ben and Alison, decide to try and make their relationship work out, in spite of all the odds.

Through many ups and downs, and the disapproval of various family members, Ben and Alison eventually reach their own version of happily-ever-after, welcoming a baby girl in the process. 

Katherine Heigl starred in ‘Knocked Up’

Knocked Up was well-received by both critics and fans, with many praising the smart writing and the heartfelt interactions between the characters. The movie also opened up some nationwide discussions about the nature of unexpected pregnancies and the different ways that various couples might handle them. Heigl, who played Alison, received particular acclaim for her work in the film.

Heigl was best known at the time for her work in the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. Her role in Knocked Up helped to propel her to movie stardom, and the actress was successfully able to transition from television to Hollywood.

In the years following the release of Knocked Up, Heigl starred in movies like 27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth, and Killers. These days, she keeps a lower profile in Hollywood but continues to act in both television and films.

Unfortunately, Heigl doesn’t recall her role in Knocked Up fondly, later admitting that she wasn’t happy with the part that she played. Heigl revealed that she believes the movie painted women as “shrews” and that the plot, overall, was “a little bit sexist.”

Why did Anne Hathaway turn down the lead role in ‘Knocked Up’?

Anne Hathaway at the U.K. premiere of 'The Intern'
Anne Hathaway | Samir Hussein/WireImage

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Another star had a problem with some of the content featured in Knocked Up, although not in the same way as Heigl. Anne Hathaway, who rose to fame in The Princess Diaries, was offered the role of Alison prior to Heigl’s casting.

Hathaway, while she liked the comedy featured in the movie, reportedly had a problem with the graphic childbirth scene. As Hathaway later explained to Allure: “My issue with it was that having not experienced motherhood myself, I didn’t know how I was gonna feel on the other side about giving birth. And by the way,” she added, “I could pop a kid out and think, Oh, well, I really should have done that movie.”

These days, Hathaway is a mom of two young boys, so she could feel very differently about the role that she turned down in Knocked Up.