Flower Films Child; producing Angel; Spielberg’s goddaughter; Stroking New York
Drew Barrymore has been a child actor and she’s been an ingenue, and she has outlasted most of her competition in both of those areas-and a few more salacious ones as well-because she is that rarest of creatures in the movie business: someone in control of her destiny.
So call it kismet-or the allure of Strokes beau Fabrizio Moretti-that has 28-year-old Ms. Barrymore now calling New York, in part, home. Although most Manhattan denizens still remember Ms. Barrymore as a Page Six mainstay, it’s her transformation from brawn to brains that has accounted for her success. By the time she was 20, Ms. Barrymore-cherubic, full-lipped, fourth-generation flower child of the acting family that produced John and Lionel Barrymore-had given memorable performances in her godfather Steven Spielberg’s E.T., as well as Irreconcilable Differences, Poison Ivy and on top of David Letterman’s desk, where in 1995 she flashed him for his birthday. But during that same decade she had also attempted suicide, gone through rehab (which she documented in her memoir, written at the age of 15), posed for Playboy and gotten divorced.
Ms. Barrymore had erased Hollywood’s memory of her as a child actor by becoming more of a woman than even she could handle, but in the mid- to late 90’s, Ms. Barrymore reimagined herself again in a way that no one expected: as a Hollywood player.
In 1993, on the Seattle set of Mad Love, Ms. Barrymore was introduced to Nancy Juvonen, E Street Band member Clarence Clemons’ assistant, by her brother Jim. Soon thereafter, she convinced Ms. Juvonen to move to Los Angeles, and the two women opened Ms. Barrymore’s production company, Flower Films.
And like Working Girl’s Tess McGill, Ms. Barrymore proved that she had a bod for sin and a mind for business. After star turns in Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You, a memorable cameo in Scream and her 1998 breakthrough in The Wedding Singer, Ms. Barrymore harnessed her clout as a leading lady to her production company. The result was 1999’s Never Been Kissed, executive-produced by and starring Ms. Barrymore, which ushered in over $55 million in domestic box office alone.
And that was just the appetizer for the box-office feast that would be Charlie’s Angels. She has made enough money on the Angels franchise alone as both actor-$14 million for Full Throttle-and producer-12 percent of the gross-to never have to work again. Perish the thought. Slated for next year are the reunion of Ms. Barrymore and her Wedding Singer co-star Adam Sandler in 50 First Dates and the adaptation of A Confederacy of Dunces, directed by the very promising David Gordon Green and starring Will Ferrell. And though the fall release of Duplex, which was directed by Danny DeVito and starred Ms. Barrymore alongside Ben Stiller, proved to be a flop, Sony Pictures has extended their first-look deal with Flower Films for another two years.
And on top of all this, Ms. Barrymore has the ear of the most powerful director in Hollywood, her godfather, Mr. Spielberg. “I love that my relationship with him has evolved from ‘I want to get my ears pierced’ to ‘Can I screen that movie for you?'” she told a reporter last June. It’s a far cry from the quilt that Mr. Spielberg sent Ms. Barrymore in 1995, after she’d posed for Playboy. The one that came with a note saying: “Cover Yourself Up.”
Mr. Spielberg even joked, perhaps half seriously, to Vanity Fair: “Listen, at some point she’ll probably run a studio and pull me out of retirement and give me a good script to direct.”
The career’s in fine order, but romance? Now that’s a tricky subject. The marriage to comedian Tom Green lasted about as long as Gigli did at the box office, but her new rock ‘n’ roll love interest, Mr. Moretti, has meant that Ms. Barrymore’s been prettifying our streets as of late. Ms. Barrymore told The Observer last September at the premiere for Duplex that in the past she had rented two different apartments in New York, but was at the time looking for a new place. “I’ve had pretty good experiences living here,” she said.
Well, this time around it’s bound to get even better. Recently, Ms. Barrymore settled on a Union Square apartment with her man, Mr. Moretti, who just last August bought a 1,049-square-foot condo on East 13th Street for the two of them. Even The New York Post, which seemed to relish her every adolescent misstep, has been treating Ms. Barrymore with kid gloves lately. In a recent article in the tabloid entitled “Kissin’ Tell: What Celeb Smooches Say About Their Romance,” Mary Dawne Arden, a professor in New York University’s department of culture and communications, scrutinized a photo of a lip-locked Mr. Moretti and Ms. Barrymore and declared: “Here is young love completely carried away in the moment.”