|PRESS ARCHIVE ::: Drew Barrymore Talks About "Fever Pitch"
No one seems to mind that the ending of “Fever Pitch” had to be rewritten. Who would have thought the Curse of the Bambino would finally be broken the very year the Farrelly Bros., Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon got together to shoot a romantic comedy about a fanatical Red Sox fan who finds love during another losing Sox season? But the Sox pulled it off, sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals and forcing a last second rewrite, not to mention a lot of scrambling to shoot the film’s stars at the final game of the World Series.
In “Fever Pitch,” Barrymore stars as Lindsey, a workaholic who believes she’s finally found Mr. Right. Everything flows along smoothly until baseball season begins. Then Mr. Right turns into a Red Sox fanatic, and Lindsey has to compete with America’s Favorite Pastime.
INTERVIEW WITH DREW BARRYMORE ('Lindsey'):
Could you ever date a sports fan?
Yeah. I mean, sports is a relatively harmless thing to be obsessed with. There are far more negative things. And they’re really out there. I didn’t realize what a true epidemic this is, not just in our country but our world. Reading the Nick Hornby novel, the people from England are just crazy about their soccer. The people in Boston are obsessed with their Red Sox. And we met this Dallas Cowboys fan the other day that was just like…I mean, he was Jimmy [Fallon’s] character. He said the same things that Jimmy’s character says. He had the gift shop atmosphere going on in his house. It’s real, and there are sports widows.
I think it’s really about finding the balance and I think hopefully in the end of our film, we say, “Look, be who you are because if you get into a relationship and you fall in love with someone initially for who they are, the more you take that away, the more they’re going to lose a sense of themselves, and you’re going to lose a sense of who you fell in love with.” It’s about balance and making sure you’re making that person a priority and feeling like number one, but still remembering who you are and getting to be that person at the same time.
Did you enjoy being in Red Sox Nation?
Oh yeah, it was great. We shot it so interestingly. It was really just me and Jimmy and a guy with a handheld camera in the seats. We didn’t want to draw any attention to ourselves for two reasons: one, we didn’t want the crowds around us to be looking weird because if we were just two people there, they wouldn’t be doing that. And also, not to distract the players. We just wanted to do it quietly, if possible. And then when we ran across Fenway, that was during the end of a real game, the real players, the real fans, all 37,000 people of them - and that was just unbelievable.
Shooting at the winning game of the World Series, we were right there on the field. The shot that ends our film is us and you see them in the background. There’s no re-creation and dramatization. We live in that technological world where everything’s so CGI’d and cardboard cutout audiences and that’s just not what happened here. I think you feel that and I hope that that really comes across because that’s exciting to be shooting in the middle of these real games.
Your character’s a workaholic. How often do you take work calls in your down time?
Well, I’m not the best person about calling anybody back. I’m notoriously the worst returner. But when it comes to work, as far as what we need to get done, I’m avid and aggressive about just following through on everything because I’m not the type of person that just sits back and hopes for the best. I think you have to make it happen. So I’m very diligent in my professionalism. I try to maintain my friendships as best as I can, but I’m also a little bit flighty and off in my own world sometimes, too. So a little bit of column A, a little bit of column B.
How was working with the Farrelly Brothers?
I think they have just the best sense of comedy. Some of the films they made are the greatest films in the history of comedy and filmmaking. And yet I think this is an opportunity for them to show their more serious and mature side in that world that was very grounded in reality, such as this story called for. So I think it was exciting to them, and for people who watch the movie, to see them do a different type of film.
They just really got the film that we wanted to make going into it. We all were in agreement when we started shooting so that makes it so much more fun when you’re all on the same page and you’ve done your homework. They wanted to try things and we wanted to try things and we were always open to each other. I just think they’re the greatest, greatest guys, too. I think they’ve just done a really wonderful job at finding the precise tone that each scene and moment needed for this film.
Are you still hands-on as a producer?
[With] everything. I mean, the casting process, trying to keep your budget at a certain way, hiring the directors, being involved in the rewrites, which is always my scariest process, the rewriting. The production designer, the cinematographer, the editing, the fact that it’s gotta be marketed appropriate to the film. The publicity that you get everybody to do to go push the movie. All of it. That’s all fascinating and fun and a lot of people who are film people, film nerds who love every little detail, love it. We have fun putting a picture in the background of a friend. It’s like a little detail to us. No one would ever notice it but we love each and every little detail. How do we make this scene the best that it can be or what wardrobe should that person be wearing to show their arc? Maybe that outfit’s too early.We think about every little detail.
Did you collaborate on the rewrites for “Fever Pitch?”
We didn’t really have to modify it as dramatically as people would think that we had to. We just told the story that we were going to tell. The fact was, we were talking about the Boston Red Sox history throughout the movie, and as we were shooting it, their history was changing. So what a phenomenal thing to incorporate into our film and a miracle that was a kind that instead of the ‘boy just getting the girl, but his team loses yet again,’ he gets the girl and his team wins. It’s like everybody wins. It’s such an extraordinary celebration.
What is it about Jimmy Fallon that made him right for “Fever Pitch?’
Well, I think that Nick Hornby novels and Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, they write such rich, interesting characters and the men that they write about are at a certain age. They have a certain playful quality about them and I think that Jimmy totally embodies that. He’s just a lovely, lovely human being. I was excited to see him in something that was romantic and more dramatic than anything he’s had the chance to do yet. I really believed in him and he just did an incredible job.
A lot of actresses cite you as a role model…
What prompted you to take control of your career and become a producer?
That is so nice. I don’t like to sit around and hope for the best. I really want to just take the reins and try and create fun jobs for us and our company, and to tell great stories. I just love filmmaking so I love being a part of every little aspect. And as an actor, you aren’t necessarily involved in putting the picture in the back of the room and the casting. And you kind of just are hoping it’s all working out. Sometimes it’s nice to just go and be an actor and relax into that, but I love being involved in every aspect and I find it very empowering. I just want to continue to grow in that and it’s just great.
[Nancy Juvonen] and I, we find our stories in the strange places that we do and then we spend two years of our lives making them. We have to love them in order to spend that much time doing it. So I just love my job. I love it.
Are you still involved in the upcoming Curtis Hanson film?
Well, that is a film I’m just going to be an actor on and as an actor, one of my goals is to work with filmmakers that I really admire. He is just the epitome of an incredible director. I’m just so excited about it. I’m just so eager to work as hard as I can for him. And I’m actually leaving right now to go do the cast read through in Las Vegas for it, so I’m really excited about it.
What kind of environment is Vegas to work in? Are you a Vegas type of person?
No. I’ve never been there for more than 48 hours and when I did, I like ran screaming out of there as if my butt was on fire. I’m going to be there for the next two months. I’m going to have to get real zen. That’s too much of an energy place for me, but it’ll be interesting.
Did you like working in Boston?
I loved Boston. It just was amazing to see how everyone is so emotionally affected by this team. And [there are] lovely people, very smart, ambitious people in Boston. It’s a beautiful city. It respects its history. I like it.
What about St. Louis?
I hate that there has to be someone winning and someone losing. I will say that what I was happy about was that no matter what team you root for and where your loyalties lie and where you’re from, I feel like everybody sort of took a moment and went, “All right, 86 years in the making, you earned it.” And I felt like everybody kind of put their own loyalties aside for a second, which was a lovely moment.
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