February 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm , by Lisa M. Gerry
If Drew Barrymore were a drink, she would be champagne. She is bubbly, sparkling, girly and fun. I have been a fan of hers for as long as I can remember. In high school, my girlfriends and I would watch (and rewatch) her movies like The Wedding Singer, Never Been Kissed (“I love baseball!”) and Charlie’s Angels (who we may or may not have taped ourselves impersonating while dancing to Destiny’s Child). And as I’ve grown up, I continue to be more and more inspired by who she is and the work she creates.
Recently, I got the chance to speak to Drew about her film directorial debut, Whip It, which was just released on DVD. The film (which she also starred in) is about a girl (Ellen Page) whose spirit-suffocating small-town life is transformed when she discovers the rough and raucous world of roller derby. “The themes in this movie were really close to my heart,” Drew said. “I believe in having fun, laughing, enjoying life and rocking out with your friends. And I also believe in trying to find what you want to do in the world and who you want to be.” Seriously, what’s not to love?
The last year was a big one for you. Grey Gardens was quite a departure from anything you’ve done before and you directed your first film.
Thank you. I wanted to demand more of myself and face my fears. I didn’t really know if I could pull these things off, but I think the best way to figure it out is to try it. I kind of gave up my whole life so I could give a thousand percent of dedication and focus to both projects.
What about Whip It made you want to direct it?
My whole life I’ve wanted to direct a film—it’s been my dream since I was 7 years old. But I wanted to be patient, produce a lot of movies and work with more film directors to figure out what kind of director I wanted to be. Directing a film is a massive undertaking and if you care about every little detail, it’s a 6-7 day a week job, for a minimum of 2-3 years—so I wanted the film I chose to be compelling and personal.
I love that Whip It is about a group of women lifting each other up. You seem to have a lot of women in your life that are like that—how important is female camaraderie to you?
It’s everything. Life is too short for that cat fighting crap. I like when girls are friends and they have each others’ backs. All of my friends demand that I be at my best, but they don’t judge me when I fall.
What films did you watch to prepare for Whip It?
I love the movies Breaking Away, Slap Shot with Paul Newman and Pretty In Pink. I love John Hughes and how he showed girls and youth, which were two things that he wasn’t—yet I challenge a woman to know young girls the way he did.
Lastly, have you been skating since you finished the film?
No, I haven’t, but Ellen’s been skating with our choreographer and she was like, “Come skate with us!” So I might be skating again soon.
(photos courtesy of Fox Searchlight)
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