drew barrymore: our exclusive interview
Look meets Drew to discuss all things zombie, sex scenes & work/life balance
I didn’t want to go back to films but I loved this script
Look has interviewed a million celebrities. Jennifer Aniston? Amazing. Kylie Jenner? Er, interesting. But we’ve been waiting to interview Drew Barrymore forever. We can’t quite put our finger on what it is about Drew. Maybe it’s that she played the characters we most related to or wanted to be as teens; awkward Josie Grossie in 1999’s Never Been Kissed; sassy, acerbic Dylan in Charlie’s Angels; Casey who answers the phone in Scream (totally us). Or maybe it’s the fact that Drew’s been an executive producer on most of her films and shows. So we’re finally meeting her in Berlin in sub-zero temperatures and not even the dull ache of a hangover can change our excitable mood. The previous night we attended the red carpet screening for her Netflix show Santa Clarita Diet and caught our first glimpse of the 41-year-old actress – just so you know, in real life she has the glossiest, most A-list hair we’ve ever seen. As she enters the room, she’s completely charming and surprisingly upbeat – no mean feat when she’s visited three countries in the last 24 hours. In her new show, Drew plays Sheila, estate agent and wife of Joel (played by Justified’s Timothy Olyphant), who somehow accidentally turns into a zombie. Funny and gross (it’s been coined a ‘zom-com’), the show is definitely a grower, with some unexpectedly gory, bloody moments that Drew loved filming. ‘I was like: “I just wanna go for it,”’ she reveals. ‘I really enjoyed jumping on people and eating body parts and getting covered in vomit and blood. I enjoyed the weird stuff – it made it interesting.’ It’s a big deal, not least because Drew has been sitting behind the camera for the majority of her recent projects. She was an executive producer on 2016’s How To Be Single and directed rollerderby flick Whip It in 2010, which she admits she’s ‘intensely proud of ’. ‘I really stopped working,’ she tells us, instead focusing on her TV company and writing (in 2015 she released her second memoir Wildflower). ‘I want to show my daughters [Olive, four, and Frankie, two] how positive and important and necessary working is, but film hours are so hard. It was like an obvious non-sacrifice for me to put that on the back burner so I could be at home with them. I didn’t want to go back to films but I read this script and was like: ‘F**k, I like this!’ she laughs.
The show features some sexual moments, including several cringeinducing love-making references that could shock a few viewers. Was it ever uncomfortable to think her kids might watch this? ‘Oh, they’ll see way worse! I’m proud of it. I was really shy at first and I felt really uncomfortable. The only person I’ve had to kiss [on screen] since having kids was Adam Sandler, who’s a good friend, so yeah I felt very vulnerable at first, especially as I was 144lb. I hadn’t had a good year.’
Drew’s referring to the time of filming, which was during the fallout from her split from her third husband, director Will Kopelman. At the time she called it ‘shameful’ and ‘hard to go through’. Today, she only briefly touches on it, admitting she was ‘in a very tough place’.
However, seeing a normal, healthy woman on screen is something Look’s pleased about. It shouldn’t feel so refreshing, but it does. ‘That was where I was at in my life,’ she admits. ‘But I was like: “Wouldn’t my character be great if she took a bite out of, you know, the opportunity of what this is doing to her physically?” And so by the end my character feels good and I felt good.’
Watching the show, we note a huge similarity between Sheila and one of Drew’s other characters, Never Been Kissed’s Josie. When we tell her this, she lights up. ‘Josie, yes!’ she beams. ‘I love her, I love her so much.’ When we ask about a Never Been Kissed sequel (seriously, someone needs to make this happen), it’s a no. Boo. But there could be another series of Santa Clarita Diet which Drew’s keen on, as well as potentially more work behind the camera.
‘I would love to direct again, very much,’ she admits. ‘Whip It was crazy too. I had to learn to roller skate, direct and act in it. It was great but it’s such an all-in job. Until my kids are older, I don’t know how to do it. I’m such a mom – I take them to their gym class and I wake up with them and cook them breakfast, you know. When they’re like: “Mom, leave me alone,” when they’re teenagers, then I’ll be more proactive.’
And with that, our short time’s up and we just have a few seconds left to embarrass ourselves even further by blurting out: ‘You have great hair!’