Drew Barrymore

The actress speaks about going behind the camera for TONY and Whip It, her directorial debut

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Drew, what was your focus for these photos?
Summer in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I love that guy and his doggie. He was just doing his thing—nothing was posed.

Was he like, "Holy shit, Drew Barrymore is taking my photo"?
He was very cool about it. He was like, "Can you e-mail me that?" [Laughs] And I was like, Oh my God, I just wanted to go back to film cameras, '70s-old-school guy with a purple mohawk, and then the guy's like, "Can you e-mail me?"! It was a funny moment of, oh, technology.

And who were the ladies in the lawn chairs?
I just walked by that moment, and I envied them because they seemed so happy! I asked, "Can I take your photo?" I am really respectful about taking people's photos.

Do unto others, huh?
Yeah, it's ironic. I do wish that was the way people treated me when it comes to photography. It's more like, "Can you bend over? We're about to anally probe you." [Laughs]

Tell me about the shot of yourself in the mirror.
I was in a bathroom at the Half King. Nanette Burstein [director of Barrymore's forthcoming Going the Distance] is one of the owners of the bar. We went to do some script stuff over cocktails there—great working environment! I loved the tiles in there and I loved the mirror, and I often think after a few cocktails you get loose and stop thinking and start feeling.

Cute bow tie.
It's my new thing! It makes me happy. It can definitely go asshole, but it can also be a fabric smile.

Which is harder—being behind a crappy disposable camera or a big fancy director's camera?
They are so different. But I've always been in love with capturing a moment. It's a stamp. It leaves you with a punching impression, and that's what I'm in love with.

Your upcoming directorial debut, Whip It, is about roller derby. Why?
I relate to a theme of it: women who have not only an alter ego but a capability. I love these women who totally have day jobs—they're nurses and librarians and waitresses.

And then they get the shit beaten out of them at night.
Yeah—what I love about the sport is that it's real and high stakes. And by the way, it's scary as shit to do. I wouldn't have guessed that the first film I directed would have a sports element, but then again it doesn't surprise me, because I love girls getting to do what boys do.

And you totally love having bloody snot hanging out of your nose, don't you?
I do, I do, I love it! And I love when [women] get to be women and not feel like they have to become a man in order to play in a man's world.

So how was it bossing people around?
[Laughs] Well, I've always found that I tend to rebel against authority. I wanted to throw myself in there so I could really go through what the girls were going through. I didn't want to be that guy who said, "Just get in there." I hate that—I hate dictatorship, I hate hierarchy, I hate sidelines.

You had some very real-looking bruises on your arms.
Holy shit. Well, we also had female fight club. We discovered at a bar one night that I definitely have that, like, feisty little boy inside of me, and when I drink he comes out.

How is it not being director again, with Going the Distance?
It's hard to go back, I have to say. But I'm very collaborative with my director. I wanted to do it, because I love doing comedy. And what am I gonna do, become serious guy, like, master dramatic director thespian boring fucker? No! I wanna fucking do a fucking comedy. I'm fucking always gonna do comedy, I love it.

So you'll hop back and forth between acting and directing?
For sure. I have plans, and directing is a two- to three-year minimal venture. And now I'm gonna find the thing that makes me wanna go again for another two years. It becomes a deep, deep relationship. Unfortunately, a lot of your other relationships fall by the wayside because you have to give so much dedication to it.

Speaking of relationships: What's up with you and Justin Long these days?
We're friends, and we love each other, and that's all we know. [Laughs]

And you're doing a movie about long-distance relationships.
I know! And it's great because we can bring so much personal emotion to it, and yet we don't want to be defined by anyone, because we don't define ourselves. We can bring a lot of honesty to this thing.

And it hasn't been hard working together?
No, we love it. I have high hopes for the film; we're giving our best to it.
—Kate Lowenstein

Whip It opens Oct 2; Going the Distance opens in 2010.


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