In a round table interview with The Beacon and local schools, Barrymore talks to students about directing and gives advice

by Beacon Staff • September 30, 2009

for this particular movie?

Answer: I met Shauna Cross, the writer of the source novel, Derby Girl, and my partner Nancy and I optioned her book to turn into a screenplay . we started talking to different

directors about their vision and their take on it . I was just like, 'God, I see it a really different way than that.,Question: You said this movie is really personal to you. What was the inspiration

for this particular movie?

Answer: I met Shauna Cross, the writer of the source novel, Derby Girl, and my partner Nancy and I optioned her book to turn into a screenplay . we started talking to different

directors about their vision and their take on it . I was just like, 'God, I see it a really different way than that.' . I see it as very warm and timeless. And I also loved irreverent sports comedies like Slap Shot and The Bad News Bears. Comedy is my roots and I really wanted to make it a lot funnier and have the jokes not be so much about everything that's going on around at this moment. A lot of comedy writers like to do jokes about what's happening right here, right now. [That] kind of just dates your movie, so I started fighting for that [timelessness].

And then people wanted to make fun of the pageant, and I just thought, oh, that's such a clicheacute;, that's been done, why do you have to badmouth that lifestyle? It's not necessarily right for her, but it doesn't mean it's wrong. And I just had this severe take on everything the way I saw it and then . I was like, 'I want to direct this film.'

Q: I noticed that the relationships in the film were very realistic. Did you draw from any experiences?

A: Yeah, the scene in particular with her and her mother when she comes home . and they just have this earnest, strange conversation . that's a page out of my own book. I know what that moment is like and I sort of wrote it with Shauna to be very true to exactly something I went through. But I think it's important to draw from personal stuff. I mean, I would definitely rock out to the Ramones and play air guitar with my girlfriend driving to what I thought was going to be a fun night out. I definitely have been set straight by my friends and been given tough love . And [Daniel Stern's character].

he'd be such a cool ideal father to me, someone who was surrounded by women and loves them. Sure, would he like to throw a football with a son? Absolutely.

But he is not beaten down . I just tried to play it really subtle, like, this guy loves his ladies, he loves his life.

Q: What was the best and worst moment in filming, production?

A: Oh-no worst moment, thank god, because you just have to be like in school, like in life-if you don't do your homework,

you're going to show up for that test and be afraid and you're going to fail. But if you have studied, given your life over to it, said 'Sorry, I can't go out and party and play' and you show up for that test and you're in it to win it and you just know that you know the answers and you're so psyched to attack it-that was how I approached this film. So I'm a very homework-oriented person.

Q: Is that the advice you would have for anyone looking to go into film and directing?

A: Yes. Do your homework. Like, study, study, study. Study every filmmaker, every documentarian. Read scripts, read writers, read books. Make lists. Figure out, cross-pollinate-who are your favorite

filmmakers? What are the kinds of films that they made? How do certain things work? I don't believe in books on Hollywood-I've never read any myself. I just think that studying and doing the work and trying everything and learning what it is, what kinds of stories you want to tell-that's the way to go.