Friday, June 24, 2005

Instyle March 03 - Drew Barrymore

Embraceable Drew: We followed Hollywood's most delightfully adorable, refreshinely candid, happy-trippy free spirit, Drew Barrymore, as she spent the day snapping pictures on the beach in Santa Monica. She also focused on a few other things: why she records dirty movies, falling in-and out-of love, and how co-star George Clooney made her cry (don't worry, he's really a nice guy).

Drew on self-criticism: "I could so easily be uptight and self-conscious and pick myself apart, but I don't," says Barrymore. "I don't look to others for validation. You have to walk into a room and believe in yourself. Feel it, own it, work it, have some fun, and basically just lighten up."

"I love walking barefoot, but this is pretty gnarly," says Drew Barrymore as she and Robert Baumanns, her friend and personal assistant, steady themselves atop a stairway, about to descend into a litter-strewn Pacific Coast Highway underpass that will deposit them on a random stretch of Santa Monica coastline. Having shucked her custommade brown suede, knee-high boots, as well as her socks, the 28-year-old actress is taking the high road as she hops on Baumanns's shoulders, piggyback. Barrymore, a self-taught photographer who has been shutterbugging for close to a decade, has decided to spend a day off from her demanding Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle schedule to commune with nature-by way of a Polaroid and three other cameras. "I love taking pictures of the beach," she says, squatting to come in close on a fresh footprint she has made in the sand. "It's shooting people that's hard, getting that spontaneity."

Approaching her next subject, an assortment of rocks, Barrymore makes a headband of her green sunglasses ("J. Crew! $29.99!"), lifts a camera, contorts her face with intent, and squeals delightedly. "I'm sorry, but these rocks are so beautiful! They're like treasures," she says, jamming a few of them into a front pocket of her dark blue Levi's. Her back pockets already overflow with Polaroids of feathers, shells and waves.

But while Barrymore unabashedly exhibits a childlike spirit, with giggly zeal and spastic outbursts, she can also show a get-down-tobusiness side when it comes to her passions. "Can I see the macro lens?" she asks Baumanns, with the gravity of a surgeon requesting a scalpel. "I don't like range finders," she says. "There's too much of a delay."

Can you blame her? With a career and social calendar that show no signs of letting up, Barrymore's life simply won't allow for holding patterns. This month she stars in her 35th film: George Clooney's directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (she reportedly won the lead role over Gwyneth Paltrow and Renee Zellweger after lobbying for it for eight years). She's also starring in and co-producing (through her company, Flower Films) Duplex, a dark comedy with Ben Stiller. The Charlie's Angels sequel reunites her with butt-kicking cohorts Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu (the original, which she also co-produced, grossed more than $250 million worldwide).

Barrymore's rise to major Hollywood player is even more impressive when you consider her oft discussed troubled past. Her first taste of fame came when she played Gertie, the precocious little sister in the 1982blockbuster E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. And while she continued to make films after that, it was her off-screen dramas that grabbed the headlines, including a preteen addiction to drugs and alcohol, a stint in rehab, and a tempestuous estrangement from her divorced parents, actor John and actress Jaid (Barrymore and her mother have since reconciled). A sexy Guess jeans ad campaign and Lolita-like roles in films such as Poison Ivy and the TV movie The Amy Fisher Story got the attention of the industry and ushered in a comeback that has eclipsed her wild-child period. Almost.

"When people talk about my past over and over again, it gets irritating," she says. "I know that stuff goes on your permanent record. I understand and totally respect that. But I sometimes question why people don't discuss other things. Let me tell you about other things."

And she does. A lengthy conversation with Barrymore manages to cover a lot of territoryfrom fashion ("There are a lot of clothes I couldn't ever dare wear because I don't have that kind of body. I'm short and squatty") and dreams ("I'd like to be a National Geographic photographer, or grow braids and write children's books in Wyoming") to working with Confessions director Clooney ("He told me I had a problem with eye contact," she says, her eyes turning downward, beginning to well. "I went home and burst into tears because it's true. I can't look people in the eyes. It's too intimate").

Barrymore, it seems, is more comfortable peering through a camera lens. The sun is less than an hour from setting on this mild, breezy SoCal afternoon, and Barrymore is eager to catch what's left of the light. Strolling near a flock of seagulls on the beach, she points her camera ("Helloooooo, birds!"). Suddenly her half-Lab, half-chow, Templeton, who has been dropped off by another friend, makes an appearance. One of Barrymore's three dogs, Templeton darts across the sand, no doubt drawn by the scent of his master's patchouli ("I didn't take a shower this morning, and I was a little worried about that").

Clearly a "show" dog, Templeton wants her undivided attention. Not so fast. "Stay, stay," she whispers, holding on to his collar, determined to get her shot of the birds milling about. "This is the s- I live for. Photography is one of the most important things to me," she says. The fact that the photos she takes will be in a national magazine-here, on pages 311 and 312-doesn't seem to concern Barrymore. "I like challenging myself," she says, "to be naked and vulnerable, to go to the next step and scare myself again."

Perhaps that explains why Barrymore spontaneously flashed her breasts at talk show host David Letterman in a now infamous 1995 appearance on Late Night. Or why she pushes the envelope professionally (she's set to star in a remake of the Jane Fonda intergalactic sexcapade Barbarella). Or why after two divorces (from restaurateur Jeremy Thomas in 1994 and comedian Tom Green in 2001), a fizzled engagement (to onetime Beverly Hills, goz-ro teen idol Jamie Walters), and highly publicized relationships with actor Luke Wilson and Hole guitarist Eric Erlandson, Barrymore is still very much open to the possibility of love. "Marriage is definitely not a goal right now, but I still want to have fun and be alive," she says. "I am so in love with love."

So it would seem. Lately Barrymore has been linked with rock guitarist Joel Shearer and Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti. "I go on dates here and there. Some are setups," she says. "Fabrizio and I are friends. He's one of the most extraordinary people I've ever met in this world," she says, averting an all-out gush with a sip of Coke.

The sun has set, and Barrymore and entourage have made it to the nearby restaurant Marix Tex-Mex Playa, where she has unburdened herself of her cameras. Sitting at a corner table with her still-bare feet tucked behind the legs of a chair, she explains a recent entanglement. "I was writing to this person one day, saying, 'I don't know what the nature of our relationship is, but just for tonight I am glad I have you to write to.' We all need someone out there to project our feelings of love and sexuality onto."

At one point, that someone was Green. Throughout their courtship, engagement and subsequent 158-day marriage, Barrymore always seemed to be the one person tolerant of, if not an equal partner in, his incessant joking (the red-herring wedding plans, the fake pregnancy announcement, the bewildering moments of levity after their house burned down in an electrical fire in2001. Barrymore got the whole Tom Green thing, so when he abruptly filed for divorce, it seemed as if he was firing his best audience.

It was a tough time, but Barrymore kept it together. "When we were filming Confessions, she had a lot going on," says George Clooney. "She was working on another movie at the same time, she had just broken up with Tom, and she even had a head cold. She had every excuse for bad behavior, but there was none of that. She lit up the room. You just wanted to give her a hug. She's delicate in that sense, and I don't know anyone who knows her that doesn't want to protect her. I would never give her advice because I don't really know her life, so I would just go up to her and ask, `Do you want me to go and kick anyone's ass?' She'd give me a list of names and that would be that."

Clooney is kidding, of course. But even if such a hit list did exist, it's doubtful her ex's name would be scribbled on it. Shortly after the breakup Green was quoted as saying, "I recommend that people don't get in high-profile marriages. There are a lot of [other] people in the world." Mention this to Barrymore and she shrugs with a laugh. "I'm sure he feels that way. But instead of feeling bad or apologizing, I understand and respect that now," she says. "In the past there have been moments when a guy can't deal with my reality and just loses it, and I'm like, `I'm sorry. Bummer.' In my previous relationships, I would always adapt to their life, become them," says Barrymore. "I've since learned to be true to myself and not to be such a people-pleaser."

Perhaps in part because of her penchant for peoplepleasing, Barrymore has worked at remaining friends with most of her exes. "Basically, I won't wait until things get so bad that there's no damage control," she says. "Most people want things to crash and burn because it's easier to walk away. But it makes it harder to recover and form a friendship." Whether or not that will be possible with Green remains to be seen. "I haven't spoken to Tom in a while," she says. "But I'll welcome him into my life, if it happens."

Barrymore looks at her watch. It's not the straight talk that's making her anxious; she's meeting a friend for dinner and doesn't want to be late. Even with a killer schedule, Barrymore is serious about making time for friends-and yes, her Charlie's Angels co-stars, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu, are part of the inner circle. "We do hang out together," says Liu. "In fact, we went to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving. We traveled together, ate together, gambled together, slept in the same room together. But we do attract a bit of attention when we go out. People seem to notice Cameron first. Then they'll say, `Hey, there's Drew-and there's Lucy!' They don't expect to see us all together like that."

Quieter nights, according to Barrymore, usually consist of "a glass of red wine, a Fassbinder film, and a pack of cigarettes." She hardly ever watches TV, but she just got Tivo, a service that automatically records television programs based on your viewing habits. "Oh my God, Tivo thinks I like racy movies," Barrymore reveals. "It's really embarrassing. It tapes all this adult entertainment, which I am a little disturbed by. And always Risky Business." Why not? After all, Barrymore hasn't stayed a star for this long by playing it safe. Right, Dave?