Whip It good: Drew Barrymore exclusive interview
Drew Barrymore delights in testing herself. In 2009, the opportunity arose twice. Barrymore took her first shot at directing and that effort arrived on DVD and Blu-ray January 26 in the form of the fast-charging, girl-power driven Whip It.
Of course, Barrymore's other difficult task professionally in 2009 was tackling the role of Little Edie in HBO's Grey Gardens.
Barrymore so astoundingly captured the true story of Jackie Kennedy's cousins along with Jessica Lange; the actress has been cleaning up throughout awards season including her recent Golden Globe victory.
Barrymore's calling SheKnows to bask in a year she had unlike any other and how her optimism for life is proving powerful as she navigates the minefield of maintaining a successful decade-spanning career in Hollywood.
Exclusive! Drew's dish
SheKnows: Hello Drew, how are you?
Drew Barrymore: He knows, too (laughs)!
SheKnows: When it comes to entertainment -- this in particular he, yes (laughs)!
Drew Barrymore: No kidding! That's so true, and you know what? I always get really squirmy when the boys are left out of the girls' fun. Even in Whip It, could we please still appeal to boys too? I made this movie for them as well (laughs). I love boys and love girls. I make films from a girls' perspective, but I love boys! I want them to come too.
SheKnows: We, being me, absolutely had the best time watching Whip It! I had a blast. It was such a fun, yet an empowering film. I wanted to start by asking…
Drew Barrymore: Thank you, by the way. Thank you so much.
SheKnows: Oh, my goodness, my pleasure. Why Whip It to make your directorial debut?
Drew Barrymore: I wanted to something that was personal to me. I wanted to try many different genres. As producer, I have made Charlie's Angels, Donnie Darko and 50 First Dates -- three different genres. I want a bit of everything. But, whatever I do, I want it to be really personal. That is the best way for me to approach anything, really. I really identified with a lot of it.
SheKnows: I can imagine.
Drew Barrymore: A lot of Whip It is about things I really believe in and when I got with the writer, Shauna Cross, I worked with her really hard on the script to make it really personal as well.
Acting & directing: more challenge!
SheKnows: Many actors and actresses I've spoken with who have gone behind the camera, talk about the decision about whether to also star in the film. What was it about this feature, the character you portray, perhaps, that made you want to double dip?
Drew Barrymore: I did. But, I'm in the ensemble. I did that for a couple reasons. One, I wanted to be with the girls. I know what it's like to train really hard to do physical stuff in a movie. You want to be all in it together. You go through the pain and the breakthroughs and the highs, it's really empowering and it's great for chemistry. It's a real bond as opposed to a movie bond (laughs).
Drew Barrymore (continuing): The main character -- Ellen's character -- I really identified with, and I felt a lot of those feelings growing up. I could inject that in there and be honest about it. What's it like to do things with your mother. What I would have liked a relationship with a dad to be like... it's interesting to me now because I get both sides. I get the parent side and I get the kids' side. I'm not a parent yet, but I'm at that age where I can see both sides. When you're young, you're sort of rebelling. I appreciate a parent who may not have the same broad vision for their child's future. But, they're there because they care.
SheKnows: And having an Oscar-winner in Miss Harden on the set must have been great for you also as a first time director, but also as an actress.
Drew Barrymore: Absolutely, everybody had so much strength in what they did. I loved seeing everyone's natural instincts and cultivating that and trying to incorporate that with what I saw in my head and also doing the "surprise me" takes. I think it's so much fun to play and really collaborate and trust each other and try different things.
Up next…Drew tells us about winning the Golden Globe for Grey Gardens and how she consulted her Oscar-winning director friends while making Whip It.