Drew Barrymore interview in W: her estranged mom, new HBO show


Drew Barrymore has just directed her first feature film, Whip It, starring Marcia Gay Harden, Ellen Page, and Jimmy Fallon. She’s about to make a dramatic debut in the HBO series Grey Gardens about the Onassis family, where Drew will play Edith Beale. She recently sat down with W to discuss her projects, her life, and her relationships. Here are some highlights:

On being happy
Such is the range of her appeal that she has claimed the covers of Playboy, Seventeen and Ladies’ Home Journal; this past February, Barrymore beat out Jay Leno and Oprah (Oprah!) to win Greyhound’s first-ever survey to name America’s favorite celebrity road-trip buddy. Barrymore calls herself an optimist but is the first to concede that she works hard to be happy. “I get out of bed with a spring in my step like, I’m going to f—in’ rock this day,” she says. “I’m going to make people happy. Here I go.”

How playing Edie brought out her dark past
The self-doubting Edie, by turns withdrawn and theatrical, liberated her from playing that part. “I was excited to bring my own pain to something,” says Barrymore, without a hint of any of it. “I mean, contrary to my happy-go-luckiness, I have so much darkness in there. Playing Edie, I felt like s—. I thought, I’m afraid beyond anything I’ve ever known. I’m miserable; I’m scared; I feel sick all the time. And I was like, Good! At least I have somewhere to put it. You know what? I’m not f—in’ happy all the time. I like making people feel good, but it was great not to have to please anybody. I was out there for myself and for her.”

Wanting to feel as cut off from the world as Edie had, she didn’t use her cell phone or laptop or watch TV, and she read only Edie’s journals and favorite Nathaniel Hawthorne novel, The Marble Faun. The actress insisted that everyone on set call her Edie, and as Edie, composed journal entries and letters to Long on a typewriter. (Her best friend and producing partner, Nancy Juvonen, sent Barrymore a formal letter, addressed to Edie, to invite her to her wedding to Jimmy Fallon.) Fearing she might “snap,” Sucsy recalls, he suggested she return to playing Drew on Saturdays. Her dresser, Kent Cummins, an old friend of hers, confided to Sucsy, “Even the Saturday-night Drew wasn’t the full Drew.”

On her relationships with her mother and father
When I ask if she sees her mother, Barrymore gives the only terse answer in the interview. “No contact,” she replies. Her father, John, an alcoholic actor, left before Drew was born and was absent for much of her childhood, though they forged a bond when he was dying of bone-marrow cancer, and Barrymore, then 29, paid for his care. “He was so feeble, I could actually nail him down,” she says sardonically. “He was such a flighty bird—unattainable and off doing his own thing. I’m sure it’s affected my relationships with men. I’m sure I’m sadder about it than I admit, but I accept that a lot easier than my mother’s and my relationship, which is more tumultuous.”

[From W]

The interview is very well-written and I would recommend checking it out. Her latest projects sound very diverse and I’m interested in seeing both her directorial debut as well as her turn as a dramatic actress.

Drew’s latest film, Whip It is about a 17-year-old girl, played by Ellen Page of Juno fame, who leaves her small-town mother and finds herself on a roller derby team. Drew says the movie is about “finding your tribe,” and it seems like it has a lot of parallels to her own life – she, too, has been forced to find a “family” outside of her own blood. Her next project will be directing How to Be Single, based off the novel of the same title.

Although she is trying to establish herself outside the realm of romantic comedies, it seems like after playing such a dark and intense character like Edie, she is reverting back to the tried-and-true for the time being. If Drew wants to be a real dramatic actress as she ages, it’s probably best to ease into it – by doing one or two rom-coms for every dark role. That will make the transition much smoother.

Here’s Drew meeting some friends at “iO Film” in Hollywood on February 27th. Images thanks to Fame.com.

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15 Responses to “Drew Barrymore interview in W: her estranged mom, new HBO show”

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  1. Iris says:

    she really seems like a sweet person. and she looks just like her little girl self in E.T. in those pictures without makeup!

  2. cobainreed says:

    i have a question
    she is frances bean cobain’s godmother so how comes she never talks about her and how comes i can not find pics of them 2 together

  3. Chiara says:

    “Finding your tribe,” or in search of one’s tribe and the process is an essential part of living and growth.

    I have great admiration for Drew and other women who challenge their parents, their own belief system, and adapt and grow. Today’s Drew will not be the Drew of tomorrow.

    And yes, I do remember the child Drew who entered rehab at age 11. We should all be as fortunate … to gain a glimpse of ourelves.

  4. yasmin says:

    I love Drew. She is such an inspiration to me, she has been through a lot and has come out of it a lovely & successful person. respect! :)

  5. Alecto says:

    She looks great. Despite her possible missteps. We all have them. I still love her.

  6. shan says:

    Drew is such a pretty girl – its a shame W felt the need to airbrush her nose out of oblivion.

  7. Rio says:

    She’s probably genuine (she always struck me as harmless, if dumber than a sack of hammers), but Cripes, anyone that actually says, “Contrary to my happy-go-luckiness, I have so much darkness in there.” makes me want to roll my eyes BIG time.

  8. Elanenergy says:

    Someone who rolls her eyes at anothers’ expression of honesty is pathetic. It is really intolerant to expect a person to give an interview and discuss these issues and then be harangued for it. Drew has been through the wringer, and strikes me as a person who chooses to find joy and success and also never to really forget what it means to have been abandoned by the people she most trusted in life. That is huge. I admire that quality in a person above all others.

  9. Granger says:

    Elanenergy, I admire people who speak their opinions, like Rio did. I don’t admire people who knock them down just because they don’t agree. Hint hint.

  10. RAN says:

    I love Drew… always have. I grew up with her (not literally of course) and have watched her struggles from the beginning. I sort of feel an affirmation with her that she sort of struck out on her own and made it work.
    We can’t chose our family, but we CAN chose who we continue to socialize with. The “finding your tribe” comment says it all.

  11. RAN says:

    Oh and I forgot to say… I like your style SamHill – your writing is unique, well informed and you manage to inject just enough of your own personality to really make it interesting.

  12. cee says:

    i always question myself how do celebs get that blonde…without damaging their hair? when i got blonde…i always did it at a good hair salon…it never worked out…always damaged hair…highlights are also very bad for my hair. just wonder how did they make it. i prefer her as a blonde.

    really? she is frances beans godmother? i didn’t know. it is really interesting. does someone know more about that?

  13. cobainreed says:

    to cee her is a something about frances bean being her godmother i find it on a serch one day

    In 1994 she married bartender Jeremy Thomas in his Los Angeles tavern, where the ceremony was performed by a clairvoyant they reached by dialing a psychic hot line. Their marriage lasted barely a month. She was later married briefly to comic-irritant Tom Green, after her Beverly Hills mansion burned to the ground in 2001. She was the focus of the charming stalker documentary My Date with Drew, in which a lifetime fan went to frightening lengths to briefly gain Ms Barrymore’s attention. She is the godmother of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain.

  14. cee says:

    thank you. that’s very nice. it’s very interesting to see how some people are connectet with each other…i never thought of barrymore and cobain.