The first line in the movie He’s Just Not That Into You proclaims, “A girl will never forget the first boy she ever liked.”
For Drew Barrymore, it was Alex Rubenstein.
“He used to leave me love letters in the trash,” Barrymore tells me with a laugh. “I don’t know what was up with that, but he used to make sure I was looking and then throw them in the trash, run away and then I’d grab the letter.”
She laughs again, “Not much came of that relationship. We were six or seven. It was pretty tame and mild.”
Barrymore, 33, is a co-producer of Not That Into You and also appears in the star-studded ensemble as one of many single gals trying to figure out the age-old questions of how men think and how they operate.
So where’s the real-life Barrymore these days in the romance department?
“I’ve been single for eight months,” she announces, throwing her hands in the air. “I’m not in the wrong relationship and it’s great!”
The Not That Into You ensemble cast includes Ginnifer Goodwin (in the most prominent role, as hopeless boy chaser Gigi) as well as Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper and Barrymore’s ex-beau Justin Long (yes, they really are still friends—they were spotted on Saturday night hanging together at new Hollywood hot spot H-wood).
Some moviegoers, if not most, will dissect and try to figure out why Aniston would take on the role of Beth, a woman in a love with a man (Affleck) who is totally perfect, except he doesn’t believe in marriage. No, it’s not a storyline ripped from Aniston’s life, but the celeb tabloids will likely have a field day with this one. Aniston is so convincing in one particular heart-wrenching scene, I advise you to bring tissues to the theater.
“Put that aside,” Barrymore says about anyone trying to find the real Aniston in her Beth. “It’s not about that. This is a movie. These are characters. It’s entertaining and relatable.”
And I dare anyone who sees this movie to try and not relate to at least one of characters or stories. Who hasn’t been on both ends of not being into someone?
Barrymore says the only way she sees ending a doomed relationship is with honesty. She wants a guy to be up front with her when he’s just not that into her, and vice versa.
“Not telling me? That pisses me off more than anything,” she says. “I can take it. I’m a big girl. At least you know what you’re working from: Oh, he told me he’s not into me? Well, I guess there’s nothing to analyze there. What a time saver!”
For now, Barrymore is immersed in work. Not That Into You is out Feb. 6 and she’s making her feature film directorial debut this year with Whip It, a comedy starring Juno's Ellen Page.
In April she’ll be seen in what’s already being buzzed about as an awards season favorite: Grey Gardens.
The HBO production is based on the 1975 cult documentary of the same name about Jackie O’s eccentric aunt Edith “Big Edie” Beale and her daughter, Little Edie, who lived in squalor in a 28-room mansion in New York’s East Hampton.
Jessica Lange plays Big Edie to Barrymore’s Little Edie.
Barrymore took a year and a half to prepare for the role, even going into total seclusion for several months to live as Edie. “I promised the director [Michael Sucsy] I would,” she explains. “I didn’t use email. I didn’t read a newspaper. I didn’t talk to a friend. I didn’t watch television. I didn’t make a phone call. I didn’t do anything. I used an old typewriter. I read her journals. I listened to her music. That’s all I did. Nothing modern.”
And if you think she’s exaggerating, just ask her producing partner Nancy Juvonen. “I have never not talked to Nan in my life,” Barrymore says. “But I didn’t speak to her for three months. She invited me to her wedding via a letter…addressed to Edie.”
—Additional reporting by Ashley Fultz