Mother-daughter producer team Maria Shriver and Christina Schwarzenegger debuted their first collaborative project on Friday during SXSW. Out on Netflix, “Take Your Pills” is a documentary that looks at the prevalence of Adderall and its negative effects on American society.
“It was an idea I had after I graduated from college, just after seeing the overuse and over-prescription of Adderall and also the existential identity crisis me and a lot of my friends had after transitioning off of Adderall,” said Schwarzenegger, seated next to her mother at the Four Seasons Hotel. “I searched for resources and help with Adderall addiction, and wasn’t able to find much coverage on [the ADD and ADHD prescription medicine] — any long-term studies, what would happen if you continued to take it. I love documentaries, and searched for one on it, and thought it was something important to cover.”
“She came to me and said, ‘There’s an epidemic going on in this country about Adderall, it’s highly addictive. I don’t think parents realize how addictive it is, there’s no warning — this warrants a documentary, let’s go make one,'” added Shriver. “So we pitched it to Netflix and they said yes immediately.”
They tapped Alison Klayman to direct the project, which took about two-and-a-half years to make and explores Adderall usage in the academic, sports and professional worlds.
“It was fun. It was really fun,” said Shriver of working with her daughter professionally. “We’re interested in a lot of the same projects — she works in this space a lot, as a journalist I’m really interested in the brain,” she continued. “It’s certainly opened my eyes to alternatives, whether it’s in household items, makeup — all of these things that my generation really took for granted — our relationship with processed food, our relationship with cleaners. All of these things that her generation is saying, ‘It’s making you sick.’ I think different generations can really learn from each other and bring different things to the table.”