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Banks' hit summer includes 'Hunger Games,' babies

Associated Press Published: May 15, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) — With "The Hunger Games" in the rear-view mirror, the ensemble comedy "What to Expect When You're Expecting" just ahead and a 14-month-old at home, Elizabeth Banks is tired.

"I've signed on to being exhausted for the next 25 years," the 38-year-old actress says, kicking off her studded stilettos and settling into a sofa at the Four Seasons Hotel.

That's the price of being a working mom with a successful career that includes starring in three films this year, a recurring role on "30 Rock," a burgeoning production company and various other projects in different stages of development and production.

"I do like to work," she said. "I'm very much a sleep-when-you're-dead person."

Banks has a very personal connection to "What to Expect When You're Expecting." She read the pregnancy manual while preparing to start her own family and said it kept her sane during the scary transition into first-time parenthood.

She and her husband, producer Max Handelman, welcomed son Felix last year, opting to use a gestational surrogate after facing infertility. Banks connected to the film adaptation of "What to Expect" because it's less about pregnancy and more about parenting.

"When I was going through my battle with infertility, I got wonderful advice, which was: Why are you so worried about the pregnancy? Just get the baby whatever way you can get your baby," she said. "Pregnant women would say, 'Yeah, pregnancy is really great and lovely, but then you go to the hospital and they give you your baby and you have to mother it.' That's the part that's important, mothering the baby, and at the end of the day, that's what this movie is about."

Banks plays Wendy Cooper, a perky lactation expert and pregnancy authority whose own expectant experience isn't the glowy, blissful one she'd hoped for.

"All the not-so-wonderful things about pregnancy that are possible — like flatulence, acne, constipation, swollen ankles, fatigue and anxiety — happen to Wendy," said director Kirk Jones. "Elizabeth Banks is just a genius comedian and she played everything so beautifully."

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