When I catch up with Drew Barrymore to talk about her latest film, Missing You Already, she is not the wild child I remember when I first interviewed her in the early eighties; she is sober, witty and full of life.
It seems she has left her past completely behind her. She’s sits here as a wife, mother, and — who could have guessed — cheap merchandise mogul. The matron dress, the new demeanor and her newfound Jewish faith all point toward her marriage to art consultant Will Kopelman and two young girls. Her daughter Olive was born in 2012; her second, Frankie, in 2014. Her family and her production company “Flower Films” keep her busy in between acting jobs.
In “Missing You Already”, released at the end of last year, Toni Collette and Barrymore play best friends. The comedy turns tragic when one of them is diagnosed with cancer.
In my interview at the International Film Festival in Toronto, Drew Barrymore talked about her newfound awareness of the severity of cancer, her life onscreen and, of course, her wonderful adventures off-screen.
I read that Toni Collette convinced you to play the role by writing you a love letter. Is that true?
Yes, she did, and I went: “Oh no, now I have to go because I’m like the biggest Toni Collette fan! I can’t refuse this great and brilliant woman.”
What happened then?
My agent insisted I read the script, and I did so while I was holding my then-newborn daughter Frankie in my arms and trying to feed toddler Olive breakfast. I was very moved by the script. I started crying, but I hid my tears from my daughters because I didn’t want to scare them. There is so much bravery that it explores, and that appealed to me. It’s grounded in reality, and it wasn’t “movie-ish.” I wanted to do this movie because I thought it was such a beautiful story of what it’s like to love in this life. And that is the point of life. It really is a film about women by women. It spoke to me on every level. It was very emotional. It was so about everything we go through in life; all in one fell swoop. I needed to convince myself to do it.
Can you describe Jess?
Jess is a lovely person who has a good head on her shoulders, but she’s more artistic than business oriented, but I think she’s always known who she is. She’s comfortable with herself and is very good in being extremely direct with her friend Millie, the firecracker. I think I’ve always been the more exotic one in life and film, and it’s nice to play somebody who walks this fantastically unboring straight line. Which is weirdly ironic and somewhat true to my life. I liked being Jess; she’s fundamentally a good person.
There have been quite a few movies introduced lately which empathise with women. What do you think about that?
It’s wonderful. I’d just had my beautiful baby girl Frankie when I made this film. You can imagine it was the worst time to do a movie. But I am a mother raising two girls, and this is a story about a lifelong friendship between two women. And the writer and the director are women. For the first time, I was so moved by the aspect of women and femininity and girls and the aspect of this film. It was really influential to me.
Is this a movie you wanted to make so you could use it as an educational tool for your daughters one day?
No, I’d say it’s a movie I want to show my daughters one day, and they can decide what they want to walk away with…
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