Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Drew Barrymore's new film, Whip It

A scion of one of Hollywood's revered acting dynasties which includes her grandfather John Barrymore, great-uncle Lionel Barrymore and great-aunt, Ethel Barrymore, Drew became a movie star in her own right after appearing in the blockbuster "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." After 15 years of producing movies she has taken the plunge and directed her first full-length film, Whip it. The film stars Oscar-nominated Canadian actress, Ellen Page as Texas teen Bliss Cavendar, who follows the path of her mom (Marcia Gay Harden), a former beauty queen overseeing her daughter's rise on the pageant circuit. Below is a profile of Drew while she was out promoting the film at the Toronto International Film Fest.

Drew Barrymore chose a real balancing act for her directing debut. She does it on wheels, directing and acting alongside "Juno" co-star Ellen Page in "Whip It," a rowdy tale of roller-derby women. Barrymore had never put on skates before shooting the movie, spending a month alongside castmates learning the ropes in a roller-derby boot camp.

Once they acquired the rights to roller-derby player Shauna Cross' book "Whip It," Barrymore and producing partner Nancy Juvonen began casting about for a director. Before long, Barrymore realized this was the one she had to direct herself.

"I've been producing for 15 years, and it's all been preparing for the big test. I really care so much about what I do, and I love filmmaking so much. I love every detail and every aspect of it," Barrymore, 34, said in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, where "Whip It" premiered in advance of its Oct. 2 theatrical release.

"I think slow and steady wins the race, too. I didn't need to direct when I was 21. I wanted to produce and learn about the filmmaking process and understand every element going into it, so that by the time I did direct, I was as knowledgeable and well-prepared as possible."

Ellen Page, 22, said she has looked up to Barrymore since her early teens, admiring her for the strong women she has presented on screen as both an actor and producer. "She's maintained such a sense of identity, she's never let herself be pigeonholed, she's never worried about what people think," Page said. "Every single person has wanted a piece of her whole life, yet she still maintains this groundedness and kindness that is really remarkable."

Read more at AP.