Maybe this won’t come as a surprise to many, but Drew Barrymore found it pretty easy to get into the mind of the Greenpeace crusader she plays in “Big Miracle.” “I spent a lot of time — a lot of time — with Cindy Lowery, the woman I play in the film,” Barrymore says of her preparation for the part.

(The character onscreen goes by the name Rachel Kramer.) “And she’s just rad and a total badass and super-cool and fun. And we really actually connected — which is the way you hope it will be, but maybe it will and maybe it won’t. But we were like two peas in a pod. It was great.”

“Big Miracle” tells a true tale about all types of people — feuding news anchors, Inuit natives, oil tycoons, even the Russian navy — coming together to help three gray whales trapped under the Arctic ice off northern Alaska, cutting off their migration and threatening their lives. It wasn’t just the natural drama of the story but also the amazing camaraderie involved in the rescue that attracted Barrymore to the project. “I just think seeing this story and living in it, you just appreciate that everybody put their agendas aside for a second to work on the same thing, and it’s sort of peeling away the layers,” she says.

While the Greenpeace crusader Barrymore plays in the film starts off shouting through a megaphone at a city council meeting, she doesn’t want “Big Miracle” to have that level of preachiness. The goal, she says, was “making it personal rather than, like, soapbox-y — which I hope this film achieves or is good at.”

But environmental issues aside, another big draw for Barrymore was her co-star, John Krasinski — though it was a pairing that almost didn’t come to fruition. “There was a schedule conflict with ‘The Office,’ which was a little bit terrifying that it may or may not happen,” Barrymore remembers. But when word came that Krasinski was in, the actress found herself in a scene right out of one of her own movies. “He called me at the San Francisco airport and I started running up and down the halls, I was so happy and so excited.”


Not getting jaded

Starting in entertainment as an infant, Drew Barrymore has had an impressively long Hollywood career, considering she’s only 36. And while she’s found tremendous success in adulthood, Barrymore finds that the tough times are the key to keeping herself grounded.

“I mean, it’s just a choice, I suppose,” she says of not taking success for granted. “I’ve also experienced in life that it really can all go away, so that was a wonderful thing to experience because then you really do appreciate what you have. ... I feel really lucky, I genuinely do. It’s no BS.”

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