Wild Thing: Drew Barrymore

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From the friendly skies, next stop Batman Forever, the predicted blockbuster that serves as another great indication that Hollywood is no longer shying away from Barrymore. She decided to play the role of Sugar – a henchwoman for Two-Face, played by Tommy Lee Jones – as a tribute to her idol, Marilyn Monroe.

"I think Drew's marvel is that she is the one who is breaking the chain," says David Crosby. "We're talking about all the way back to Ethel Barrymore and [Drew's] grandfather John. She's the one that's going to stay on top and break that chain. She's been brave and persistent in fighting her way back to having the respect of her peers. She earned every inch – no one else."

Toward that end, Barrymore, along with two partners, recently founded a production company. When she is not filming a movie, the establishment serves as her daily commitment. It is a business intent on playing hardball, taking the initiative and developing its own projects on its own terms. Barrymore named the juggernaut Flower Films.


The person screaming is Drew Barrymore. The same Drew Barrymore who just recently said, "Please don't have a problem with me. Please do not judge me. Actually try, just for one second, to look at the good sides of my life. Look at what I'm going toward instead of what I've done before." But here she is, seated in a quiet but full hotel bar, screaming.


She is not angry. On the contrary, these are fuuuucks of joy – baisers de joie, if you will – it's just that they're a tad loud. She is attempting to explain how some days when you wake up in a surly mood, you just need to get it out of your system and then get on with your day.

It's an interesting point mostly because it illustrates something else altogether. While she often talks about her desire for anonymity, Barrymore continually does things to draw attention to herself. Lots and lots of attention. Tales of self-indulgent, look-at-me behavior stalk Barrymore and Erlandson-like a bloodhound with a personal stake in the chase. She admits to the disturbingly contradictory behavior.

"It's weird, I know," Barrymore says. "My whole life has been this open book. I'm so used to it on one level, and I've learned to really cope with it because it's never going to be any other way. Everyone will always be curious about my life because it's been insane. All I have to say to those people is 'Fuck you,' and yet, Take the ride.' "

Barrymore stops and fixes a serious expression on her face. "Do you think people are interested in me because of the tragedy or because of the survival?" she says.

The answer Barrymore receives is, both. The world is not littered with 20-year-olds battling back from personal catastrophe to regain the form and stature they exhibited during kindergarten. It makes for an oddly compelling spectator sport. There's just no telling what aspect people are most drawn to. Some people attend hockey games for the fights, some for the precision skill of the athletes.

"I guess that makes sense," says Barrymore. "Sometimes it pisses me off, wondering which one people are interested in." She pauses. "I can't see myself the way other people see me. I'm not insecure. I've been through way too much fucking shit to be insecure. I've got huge balls. But I've been humbled. That makes you grateful for every day you have."

And so Barrymore exits, armed with the power of this new information. Two days later, interrogation complete, she sends flowers and a poem: "I watched you go down the sidewalk/Away went my being/Away went my friend/I will find you again."

It is a thoughtful offering that raises guilty questions. Is it a gesture of pureness, a response to human interaction and acceptance? Perhaps it is an attempt to control a situation – the act of someone with whom social engagement is less an art than a survival instinct. It doesn't really matter. Either way, it is sadly beautiful.

This story is from the June 15th, 1995 issue of Rolling Stone.

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