Amy Schumer on Having Something to Say and Her Husband's Cameo in 'Life & Beth' (Exclusive)
By Stacy Lambe
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“I felt like I had something to say for the first time in a while, like, a story I wanted to tell,” Amy Schumer tells ET’s Rachel Smith about her Hulu series, Life & Beth, a dramedy about a woman whose seemingly happy life is upended after a sudden loss and finds herself back home, coming to terms with the past while trying to make changes in the present.
The series, which she wrote, directed and stars in, marks Schumer’s long awaited return to TV after the explosive success of Inside Amy Schumer. Following the fourth season of the series, which aired in 2016 and is set to return on Paramount+, Schumer has released several standup specials and documentaries about her life and career, flexed her acting chops in feature films, with the most recent being an outstanding turn in The Humans, and learned how to cook from her husband and chef Chris Fischer during a pandemic-inspired food series.
But it wasn’t until Schumer was pregnant with her son, Gene, that she found the time to write a pilot for what ended up being Life & Beth. “My husband and I were upstate in our little farmhouse and I was really kind or reflecting and thinking about what it means,” she says, explaining that the land previously belonged to her parents before they went bankrupt and lost it before she was able to buy it back. She adds, “So, something about going back to these places you did as a child” allowed her to explore those raw feelings as she was “looking at the trauma you went through.”
And it wasn’t long before Schumer felt like, “I just want to tell this story.”
The end result is a 10-part series that explores love and loss, realities of dating and growing older, parents and family dynamics as Beth (Schumer) returns to her Long Island home and encounters former friends, including Maya (Yamaneika Saunders), and her sister, Ann (Susannah Flood), and an unexpected love interest named John (Michael Cera).
“It’s a story about chasing your happiness. But it’s also a story about when you get presented with these different opportunities,” Saunders says of the whether or not if “fear is going to stop you” from accessing that happiness.
While Beth has plenty on her plate, as she tries to get her life back in order, she finds herself returning to the farm and vineyard where John works. And the two form a bond -- full of its own quirks -- that only Schumer and Cera can play up and also keep grounded. “I really felt so lucky to get this,” Cera says. “I got a text from Amy and all 10 scripts were ready in some state. It evolved a little but, but the whole show was just there.”
He adds, “It was a great thing to read… And I was so excited to do it with Amy and picture us playing this dynamic together. And it was just a very complete package.”
“Life & Beth will have you laughing so hard one minute and then the next second, you don’t even realize how open your heart is and now you’re crying and now you’re thinking about your own life and then you’re thinking about your children,” says Laura Benanti, who plays her mother, Jane. “And it really takes you on a beautiful journey that so many shows do not.”
Schumer “definitely does dig deep into some difficult moments and I think that’s quite brave,” the actress continues.
Although it is a fictional series, there are many moments that blur the line between the story told here and Schumer’s own life. “Beth is based on a side of me,” Schumer previously shared. “One thing that surprises many people is that I’m an introvert. I feel supremely confident and also I do consider myself as someone with really low self-esteem.”
One example that is very much pulled from Schumer’s own experiences is seen when Beth has a doctor's appointment. At that point, when asked if she has any pre-existing conditions, Beth quips that she’s a woman. “That’s a very loaded statement,” Schumer, who has been very open about her health experiences, said of the scene, explaining that “women have been such an afterthought in everything.”
She added, “I had hyperemesis. When I was pregnant, I had endometriosis. There’s no studies on any of that… You can look at it in that way.”
Another moment that brings a dose of Schumer’s real life into the series is a cameo appearance by her husband, who loosely inspired Cera’s character in the series. He’s seen at the end of the finale in home footage of the couple playing volleyball with friends that was recreated for the show with Schumer and Cera. “That is straight-up footage from real life,” Schumer confirms, before revealing that the two were playing “right after I had a fresh C-section.” (In 2019, her son was born by cesarean section.)
“It was probably three months after,” Schumer continues. “I was, like, serving -- it was not good and I haven’t healed well, so…”