Drew Barrymore has had some duds for onscreen partners in romantic comedies — not that she’s about to name names.
“The worst is when you’re kissing someone who is not a good kisser, and you’re trying to make it look good, and you feel like you’re just working on your own,” she says.
Luckily her latest film, Going the Distance, pairs her with someone very near to her heart: Ex-boyfriend Justin Long.
“It was just lucky for me because he’s a good kisser, so it was like, ‘Thank God,’” Barrymore says of Long. “At least it was a real team effort, you know?”
The film finds Barrymore and Long playing young lovers forced into a long-distance relationship when she returns to San Francisco to finish school. For Barrymore, starring in a film with a more modern female lead instead of just more of the same was a huge pleasure.
“I just wasn’t in that sort of place in my life where I wanted to play a cuckoo, wacky role-reversal sort of scenario,” she says. “I wanted to play someone who can hang out with guys and loves women, but has a spine and is funny. I feel like I relate to that kind of person in my life right now.”
Another appealing aspect of Going the Distance was the impressive supporting cast, including comedic talents like Christina Applegate, Saturday Night Live star Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
“I find that films, for me watching them, work best when you’re really invested in the whole group of people,” Barrymore says. “At least one of the reasons I like it best is because of everybody in it.”
Of course, with a cast like that, there’s always going to be some ad-libbing, and Barrymore did her best to keep up. “It was a pleasure for me to get to improv and just work in a much more free-flowing way where you could play around and you didn’t have to be censored — because you had an R rating — and that to me was just an absolute pleasure,” she says.
One particularly pleasurable scene, she remembers, included her character blowing off some steam at a bar with friends. “If you were really angry, how would you just let loose? And it was just the most fun day at work ever. Because I really just let loose,” she says.