April 6, 2005
The last time Drew Barrymore sat for an interview with the Tribune, she was positively giddy. In fact, she was so playful that at one point she ran across the room and leaped into the arms of the interviewer.
Five years later, a more sedate and sophisticated woman of 30 sits across the table at a Beverly Hills, Calif., hotel to promote her new romantic comedy, ‘‘Fever Pitch,’’ which opens Friday.
In the film, directed by the Farrelly brothers, she plays a businesswoman who meets the man of her dreams (Jimmy Fallon), whose only major flaw is that he is a rabid Boston Red Sox fan.
Although not a follower of baseball, the actress can relate to the businesswoman aspect of the role. Her production company, Flower Films, was instrumental in getting the movie made.
It is a side of the actress with which most readers of tabloids and celebrityobsessed magazines, and viewers of TV entertainment news programs, are probably unfamiliar. For them, Barrymore is the poster child for the dysfunctional Hollywood celebrity, with her lifelong exploits well-documented.
But she seems to have put her wild past and romantic mistakes (can you say Tom Green?) behind her. For the most part, she has stayed out of the spotlight, is involved in a serious relationship with a musician and is enjoying the kind of major success that eluded her for most of the 25 years she has been making movies.
The adorable little girl from ‘‘E.T. the Extra Terrestrial’’ grew up to become the guiding force behind the hugely successful ‘‘Charlie’s Angels’’ movies, and she has also turned out to be quite adept at romantic comedies, most recently with Adam Sandler in ‘‘50 First Dates’’ and now with ‘‘Fever Pitch.’’
Just don’t get her started on the paparazzi . . .
Q: You’ve lived your entire life in a fishbowl. Does that ever get awkward or overwhelming?
A: I can’t let it get awkward or overwhelming. I have to live my life oblivious to all the other stuff. I like being oblivious and just living my life. I couldn’t handle doing it any other way.
Q: How do you manage to pull it off?
A: It’s Zen, and it’s joy and it’s creating a bubble around you that’s based in reality because a lot of that stuff isn’t real to me.
Q: And what do you do about the bad stuff? A: I don’t read any rag magazines; none of them exist in my world. I just go about my business. Q: But what about the paparazzi?
A: I hate when the paparazzi chase me; I hate it so much. I think they’re just the worse (expletive) people on the planet. The only thing that calms me down is the thought of the bad karma they’re racking up.
Q: Is it a persistent problem?
A: They chase me all the time. That’s the one thing that I hate about being a celebrity. It doesn’t allow me to live in that ignorance-isbliss state.
Q: Did you get into producing to find projects for you to act in, or just to find interesting movies to make?
A: A little of both.
Q: Explain what you and Nancy (Juvonen, her producing partner) did on this film.
A: We found the script, hired the directors, cast the actors, handpicked the cinematographer and production designer, figured out the best place to shoot the film and worked to get permission from the Red Sox and Major League Baseball to film during real games. That was important to bring a level of authenticity to the film.
Q: Once filming commences, do you slip back into the role of an actress, and let Nancy do all the producing?
A: No, I’m still the producer. But sometimes I have to let go or my performance will suffer.
Q: Did the Red Sox mess you up by winning the World Series?
A: Not at all. We were still in the middle of shooting, so we dropped everything and ran to St. Louis to shoot the ending of the movie. Then we went back and continued filming the scenes we were working on before.
Q: Are you comfortable in the romantic-comedy genre?
A: I am, because they’re the kind of movies that I like to watch. But I also have a darker side.
Q: Tell us about the dark side of Drew.
A: I am always going to gravitate toward the lighter side because that’s me, but I would love to explore some darker roles. I just don’t want to do the same thing over and over again.
Q: When you walk into a meeting with studio executives, do they see only the lighter Drew, or do they take you seriously?
A: Nancy and I don’t wear suits, and we don’t pretend to be these hard-core feminist businesswomen. We’re just girls who want to tell stories. But when we walk into those meetings, we come prepared, and I never feel patronized.