Drew Barrymore tells us that as producer of He’s Just Not That Into You, she could have played any role. But she chose the part that was perfect for Barrymore’s life at that moment.
What drew Drew to a smaller role?
“I identified with that character. I worked with my partner Nan, the producer and the writers. I was the middle of doing Grey Gardens and directing this film Whip It! There were so many other great roles and there are so many awesome actors, I just wanted to step back and get into my character. I wanted to make her the one who is disenfranchised by technology. It was a perfect fit for me,” Barrymore says. “I really like her. Everything happens organically for a reason. I thought I could do the best with my character.”
Technology’s tangled web
The rant in the film that Mary launches into about the perils of high-tech and how there are several different technologies to be dumped on came directly from Barrymore’s heart. “I wrote that with the writers and Nan. I wanted to express how difficult it is — I still have a wall phone, I love tape and shoot on film. This whole thing where you’re in your pocket. You have to respond immediately and be quirky and quippy. No guys call anymore. It’s all text. I’m awkward enough on my own. I wanted to discuss that on film ’cause it’s so important in our day and age. It’s a new ballgame. I wanted to address that.”
Barrymore’s exceptions or the rules?
“I believe there are no rules. I think it’s a case by case basis. I think at a certain paint things click and you’re just not willing to except or give less than what you desire or deserve. When your behavior changes and you run into that wall, it’s time. You have hit your head so many times that you’re just bloodied on the floor. I get it! I think I’m going to say the exception is that there is an infinitesimally small chance, there are those moments, things like that do happen. But, for the most part, I think a person has a certain pattern and behavior. You have to look at that and say ‘what works for me? What works for this person?’ And not repeat the same BS over and over and over.”
Barrymore continues, “As much as I don’t think there are rules, I think it’s on a global case-by-case basis of how you should see someone and how you want to be seen. Anything less, it’s cliche, but it’s cliche for a reason because they’re true and they’re happening. So don’t buy it (laughs).”
He’s Just Not That Into You’s multiple story lines
“I love all of them. That’s what is great about an ensemble. I was watching The Big Chill the other night. I was fascinated by everybody’s storyline. It’s so good. It’s an amazing honor to be in a film with all these people and to get a group like this together. It’s rare and extraordinary.”
Barrymore is proud of the fact that He’s Just Not That Into You manages to have characters cross paths without suffering from what other ensemble pieces all too often do: the forced friends syndrome. Johansson, Connelly, Aniston and Goodwin’s stories are seamless. “All the stories feel so well interwoven without feeling like it’s coincidental that everybody knows everybody. It was perfect.”
Dream team cast
With Oscar winners and superstars abounding, the announcement of He’s Just Not That Into You’s cast immediately struck a lightning bolt to the buzz meter. This is a Hollywood-heavy film.
But if she had to choose one actor from the cast who stood out, Barrymore shines the spotlight on a former beau. “I think there’s something so great about Justin’s (Long) character,” Barrymore says. “He’s not coddling Gigi. He’s being honest. You think you’re helping your friend by making them feel better when really the truth will get them so much further.
He’s Just Not That Into You keeps it real
The most important aspect of any creative process for Barrymore, producer or star, is the script. “It’s the temple. You can’t do anything without it,” she says. “Obviously I decided to do this because of the writing. (Screenwriters) Ken and Nancy’s tone to make this real and honest. It’s real life. It’s exciting to come across a project that’s a good discussion and a good look at what we’re all really going through. Not fantastical storylines where somebody misses someone in an airport. This is all what we’re really dealing with — it’s an amazing opportunity for all of us to work on a project that’s relatable.”
“I would love to,” Barrymore says. “It’s still incubating in all of our hearts.”