**Updated with DVD winners, below!**
Ed: Since my teens, Drew Barrymore has been one of my greatest heroes. First as an actress, then as a producer, always as a woman, fearless and uniquely herself. So when offered the opportunity to do a brief interview with her on GGC, I was beside myself excited. And when she called me on Monday? I was so overcome with awe, I forgot my own name. People talk about that kind of thing happening but it's never happened to me. I've spent years honing my craft of cool as not to come off as Crazy Superfangirl when meeting admirable people. But interviewing Drew put a wrench in all that. Thankfully, she was gracious and kind and didn't hang up on me. Instead? She chatted with me candidly: a heroic act indeed.
Drew Barrymore on the set of her directorial debut, Whip-It
GGC: First of all, let me start by saying ... Thank you so much for talking to me and my readers today. It's such a total thrill for me, I cannot tell you. You have always been one of my absolute heroes and on behalf of myself and a million girls like me, I'd like to thank you.
Young women need heroes, fearless leaders to inspire and motivate, and in a way, that’s what your new movie, Whip-It is all about: the importance of finding your people, of surrounding yourself with peers who might bring you out and into your own. For Whip-It heroine, "Bliss," that was her Roller Derby team, “The Hurl Scouts.” Who are those people for you? Who are your "Hurl Scouts"...?
Drew Barrymore: It’s so important we have people who inspire us. Flower Films is my Team Captain. My partner, Nancy, Chris Miller, the people I work with… We encourage each other and make each other feel like we can do these crazy things, yet keep each other in check. It’s an inspiring, nurturing, very grounding, honest place… a huge inspiration for Whip-It. I’m also lucky to have an incredible group of friends. In my case, I didn’t have a traditional family growing up so these people became my family. There’s honesty there and I’m very nervous for people who surround themselves with people who don’t say it like it is. In fact I think it’s very detrimental.
One of the greatest things you can do as a friend other than listen and laugh and support is be honest. So that’s really important for me, especially the older I get. It’s harder to hear (the truth) when you’re younger, but at that point you have to go out there and learn your own lessons and fall on your face a little bit.
But I do think being around smart, fun, brave, empowered people is vital. And that can come in all sorts of forms. There’s no rule or cookie-cutter version of that.
I think the most important thing when you’re in your core group, your tribe, is, “do you feel good about yourself!? The real you, the true you!!?"
GGC: What was it about Whip-it that attracted you as a producer and especially as a first-time director?
Drew: I wanted to do something that was personal. I felt like I had a lot to offer emotionally (when it came to) mothers and daughters. I relate to the intricacies of that subject. I wanted to make something honest. I know what it’s like to be a young girl, wanting to believe you can figure who you are and find a world where that’s accepted and fostered and not hindered.
I understand that when a mother and daughter have a different broad vision that it doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. (In Whip-it) Bliss’s mom wants the best for her, and it's not what (Bliss) wants for herself so they have to find common ground and acceptance. And although I didn’t experience that with my own family, I feel how important that is – I see it all around me.
I think it's SO important to find out who you are and celebrate that and say it loud and say it proud and not let society tell you otherwise. Find the group that says, “Great! Yes! Who are you!? What do you want to be!? Let’s DO that!!!
GGC: Find your peeps!
Drew: Yes! It’s scary enough in this world! You must surround yourself with people who can help you believe in the importance of being yourself!
GGC: Kathryn Bigelow just won the Director’s Guild award for best director, for her feature film, The Hurt Locker. The FIRST time a woman director has won. Why do you think there are so few female directors in Hollywood today? Do you think that will change?
Drew: I love Kathryn Bigelow. Loved The Hurt Locker. And I guess, I feel like the dynamics (of the industry) are continuing to evolve so I’m never looking back. I’m always looking forward.
I’ve always been sort of turned off by women who complain about men having more power. Well then? You have something you want to do? The best way to make change is to go out there and do it.
There are so many interesting, empowered women out there. How do we continue that?
We must create great opportunities for ourselves! And (Kathryn Bigelow) is a total example of that. So, Thank you, Kathryn Bigelow.
I sort of was a girl who grew up believing I could do all these things I wanted to do and nothing deterred me… You can’t let anyone break the belief system in yourself.
GGC: Like your tagline suggests, “Be Your Own Hero.” I love that.
Drew: Thank you! I’m so glad! And you know? I really buy it! I really believe it! I say it to myself! "Do it and get out there!"
GGC: I’m so inspired by you!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me and my readers, and congratulations on everything you do!
Drew: Congratulations on everything you’re doing! Like I say to my friends: "You’re doing it! Keep doing it!”
GGC: Oh. My. Gosh. I’m totally writing your name on my binder right now.
Drew: I hope it’s a Pee Chee or a denim binder with kitties on it.
GGC: (laughing like a crazy person) Yes! It is!
Drew: Then I’m in! I’m so right there with you.
***I have three copies of Whip-It (now available on DVD and Blueray!) to give away to three fabulous readers!
To win? Tell me in the comments why YOU are your own hero. Three winners will be chosen at random via random.org, next Wednesday (2/10) pm.
And now I will go die.
I'm dead now.
*Update: Congratulations to the following winners:
1. Siobhan 5:23
2. Haley 11:30
Please email me with your information so we can get you your DVDs asap and thank you all so much for your incredibly kick-ass, beyond inspiring comments. I have THE most amazing readers in the history of the land. Thank you, thank you all. You're the awesome.