Drew Barrymore Shares Challenges and Triumphs from ‘Never Been Kissed’ Production

During a revealing segment on her talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show, Drew Barrymore shared some behind-the-scenes insights from her 1999 romantic comedy, Never Been Kissed, which marked the debut production of her company, Flower Films.

Barrymore, who not only starred in but also produced the film, opened up about the dual pressures she faced. She explained to her guests, Christine Taylor and David Lascher, how challenging it was at the time for actors to succeed in producing roles. “Back then, skepticism was high regarding actors turning producers because there wasn’t a proven track record of success,” Barrymore noted. She emphasized that financial success was crucial, as failing could mean losing future opportunities in production.

Reflecting on her experiences, Barrymore confessed that the production phase was fraught with anxiety. “I was terrified throughout the shooting because I knew the stakes were incredibly high. The whole process felt like a make-or-break moment for us,” she said.

Barrymore also touched upon how her portrayal of Josie Grossie came under scrutiny for being overly unattractive, which led to calls from the studio asking her to moderate her appearance. “They kept telling me to tone it down because I might have been pushing the comedic aspect too far at the expense of losing the character’s heart,” she recounted.

However, the feedback was constructive. “The studio’s concern was about preserving the heart of the character amidst the comedy, which really resonated with me. So, I adjusted my performance,” Barrymore shared. This tweak not only helped maintain the essence of Josie but also contributed to the film’s success.

Never Been Kissed, directed by Raja Gosnell and scripted by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, also featured David Arquette, Michael Vartan, and Molly Shannon, among others. The film’s eventual success was a relief and a joy for Barrymore, who was ecstatic about proving that actors can indeed turn into successful producers. “It was such a validation and a relief when the film succeeded. I was just walking around in disbelief, grateful for the chance to continue this journey,” she expressed.

Barrymore’s story from Never Been Kissed not only highlights her multifaceted career but also underscores the resilience needed in the competitive entertainment industry.

Adding more depth to the story:

In addition to navigating the challenges of balancing acting and producing responsibilities, Drew Barrymore’s journey with Never Been Kissed also sheds light on the broader dynamics within the film industry at the time.

Barrymore’s experience reflects the pervasive pressure on actors to conform to conventional standards of beauty and attractiveness, even when portraying characters who are meant to be relatable and authentic. The studio’s insistence on toning down Josie Grossie’s appearance serves as a poignant reminder of the narrow beauty standards that have historically prevailed in Hollywood.

Furthermore, Barrymore’s willingness to push boundaries and embrace the comedic aspects of her character, despite initial resistance from the studio, underscores the importance of artistic integrity. By finding a balance between humor and sincerity, she not only stayed true to the essence of Josie but also contributed to the film’s overall success.

Never Been Kissed’s triumph is not just a testament to Barrymore’s talent and determination but also a celebration of storytelling that defies conventional norms. It’s a reminder that authenticity and vulnerability are powerful assets in a world where conformity often reigns supreme.

Beyond its entertainment value, Never Been Kissed serves as a poignant commentary on the complexities of identity, acceptance, and self-discovery. Through Josie Grossie’s journey from social outcast to empowered individual, the film resonates with audiences who have experienced the challenges of navigating societal expectations and finding their place in the world.

Ultimately, Barrymore’s story is one of resilience, creativity, and the triumph of authenticity over conformity. It serves as an inspiration for aspiring artists and storytellers to embrace their uniqueness and stay true to their vision, no matter the obstacles they may face.
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