Life After Divorce: Drew Barrymore is so happy now

Life After Divorce: Drew Barrymore is so happy now

Getting divorced is no walk in the park, especially if you’re a high-profile actress, but following Drew Barrymore’s announcement that she and husband Will Kopelman are splitting after four years of marriage, the actress seems to be doing just fine. “I’m so happy now, and I have such a good thing in my life with my kids and everything,” she told Us Weekly on Sunday at the Safe Kids Day event in Culver City, CA.

As if promoting the release of her new line of Rosé wine and spending time with friends wasn’t enough to keep her mind off of things, Drew has also been busy with her adorable daughters, Olive, 3, and Frankie, 2. “Yesterday, Olive got into my lipstick and it was a real scene,” she continued. “Let’s just say the whole face got covered, then the hands on the walls, everywhere… I was like, how did this happen in three minutes? It took over an hour to get it off of her. It was nuts.”

Drew also celebrated Frankie’s second birthday last Friday, saying the party was “so sweet and delicious,” and that Frankie’s Minnie Mouse cake was “the best thing ever.”

Drew Barrymore: Being single ‘feels fine’

Drew Barrymore: Being single ‘feels fine’

It sounds like Drew Barrymore’s happy to be a single lady. “If you’re 35 and single and it’s a choice, it feels fine,” the star told the August issue of ELLE. “So I didn’t settle with the wrong person yet. Big deal!”

However, Drew’s actions may speak louder than words. Her next film is the romantic comedy “Going The Distance,” in which she stars opposite Justin – her on-again, off-again boyfriend, who seems to be on again judging by the pair’s cuddly appearance at the 2010 GLAAD Media Awards in April as well as their red-carpet lip-lock at the Golden Globes in January.

But the two have kept quiet about their romantic status, with Drew, wearing a form-fitting black Calvin Klein dress on the mag’s cover, addressing other topics in the new interview.

“I don’t want to be vain or fearful, and I don’t think I’ll do anything [in terms of plastic surgery], but if I want to do something, I will,” Drew said of getting older. “From my perspective, there’s no reason to be afraid of aging, because if you age, you’re lucky! The alternative is death.”

The actor-producer-director added that film is still her focus. “I make movies. I have a passion,” Drew said. “Puppies and daisies don’t accomplish anything. That’s not me at all.”

Big Miracle: Shooting in Alaska

Big Miracle: Shooting in Alaska

Kwapis was an advocate for shooting in Alaska, a state that has not been used often in recent major filmmaking. With its newly minted incentive program in place, it could compete financially with better-known centers of production such as territories throughout Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

“Big Miracle is perhaps the only major studio film to shoot entirely in Alaska,” reflects Kwapis. “On many levels, we all felt we were exploring new territory. A filmmaker usually chooses a location for its physical beauty. I lobbied to shoot in Alaska for another reason: the people. It was odd to make the case to Universal that we needed to go to Alaska so that the extras looked right, but this was critical to the film’s credibility. The faces on screen had to be the right faces. You cannot find the Inuit people of Alaska anywhere but Alaska, and their faces form one of the film’s most beautiful landscapes.”

The director’s vision was shared by the production team, who backed the decision to base the filming in the bustling city of Anchorage. Offers Sugar: “What you gain by shooting in Alaska instead of inside a studio back lot is the feeling of being in another world. Ken very rightly advocated for Alaska, as well as the city of Anchorage, which turned out to be wonderful partners for us.”

While any production aims to be true to life, shooting in Barrow, hundreds of miles north of Anchorage, was not feasible. Anchorage, a modern city of 300,000 people located on the south central coast of Alaska, is in what locals term the “banana belt” for its comparatively mild temperatures. Explains Kwapis: “The town of Barrow could not accommodate a large shooting crew, so it was never an option. And of course, it is numbingly cold. Anchorage was our best choice.”

First on the agenda was finding a suitable spot to build the Barrow set in Anchorage, a city ringed by mountain ranges. Unfortunately, there were not many candidates, as there are very few places where one can look out on the horizon and not see mountains. After scouting one locale that was unobtainable and a second inaccessible to equipment, the team settled into an area adjacent to downtown Anchorage near the mudflats. This location gave them a partially unobstructed horizon with which to work.

That site, on railroad land just down a slope near downtown at the Port of Anchorage, gave the filmmakers not only space to build the Barrow ice field and portions of the town itself, but room for parking and equipment. “We needed an open view of the water, some place that had a clear horizon line,” says production designer Nelson Coates. “We also needed to have room to dig the breathing holes for the whales, which, for safety reasons, required the construction of a much larger surrounding hole.”

When the team commenced digging that hole, Coates and crew found something unexpected: debris from the 1964 Anchorage earthquake that had ravaged the city. “Apparently, the city had used this area for storing bulldozed remnants of the disaster in 1964,”says the designer. “We found things like mattresses, oil tanks, railroad ties and timber and had to be careful about where we dug.”

Related Link: Read the Full Production Notes for Big Miracle

Barnacles and All: Imagining the Whales

Barnacles and All: Imagining the Whales

Perhaps the biggest challenge for Big Miracle was tackled thousands of miles away in New Zealand during preproduction. Inside the Auckland workshops of Glasshammer Visual Effects, three important co-stars were being designed and built. Glasshammer was asked to meticulously create a trio of very valuable California gray whales the screenwriters had christened Fred, Wilma and Bamm-Bamm.

New Zealand-based special-effects wizards JUSTIN BUCKINGHAM and MIKE LATHAM were assigned to create the film’s central illusion: to ensure that the California gray whales came alive on screen. Buckingham’s company, Glasshammer, had created the lifelike whales for the 2002 blockbuster Whale Rider, work that caught the eye of the filmmakers.

“My company constructed the gray whales,” says Buckingham, “and Mike designed the animatronics, robotics and hydraulics. I had received a phone call about our availability to make these three whales, and I was quite excited from the beginning.”

Foremost in Kwapis’ mind was the whale makers’ ability to create lifelike animals. “We needed the whales to look perfectly real,” says the director, “and I wanted to give the actors something tangible to interact with. We studied archival footage of the trapped whales to understand how they moved. We didn’t want to anthropomorphize them, but we gave each one distinct markings so that over the course of the film viewers could distinguish them as characters. Gray whales have rough textures that give them a kind of gnarly beauty; I feel it makes them even more endearing.”

An additional requirement would be to build a whale pool that could realistically hold the puppets while allowing them to move freely and convincingly. “We built an ice-field set, complete with an underground water tank for the animatronic whales to inhabit,” adds Kwapis. “The animatronic whales were able to surface in any part of the pool, and in any order. It was a real engineering feat, and it worked extremely well.”

The whales would have a finished look that was as close as possible to the actual 1988 whales, complete with barnacles, scars and more. Shares Buckingham: “We looked at a lot of news footage of the actual event and studied the look and movement of the creatures. Once we worked out the scale, we started sculpting the heads.”

For two of the whales, Buckingham and Latham conceived of a movable platform that could be walked underwater and made it possible to move the interchangeable whale heads independently. The hydraulics were connected to a nearby control platform out of the camera’s field of vision. While Buckingham conceived of the realistic whale heads, Latham was busy creating their interior electronics. “We thought the biggest challenge was going to be how to design equipment that would not freeze or be affected by standing in water all day,” says Buckingham. “That informed me on what materials to make the heads from so that they would last over the entire shoot.”

Construction rolled along for four months, culminating in a Pacific Ocean cruise from New Zealand to Anchorage. “After we did water tests in New Zealand, we packed all three whales in containers and shipped our gear to Alaska,” says Latham. “We just hoped they would make the journey all in one piece, which they did. Once there, we prepared the whale hole on the ice field set and placed our equipment in the water for the first time. I must say, when the whales made their appearance, they were gorgeous.”

Alaska native John Pingayak, a whaler in his own life, felt the immediate connection to the whale puppets that aided his own performance. “When I saw those whales,” says Pingayak, “I felt comfortable for the first time in front of the camera. Fred, Wilma and Bamm-Bamm were amazingly lifelike.”

Seeing the whales for the first time excited the rest of the cast and crew, many of whom did not expect to see such close approximations. Shares Krasinski: “Once I saw the whales, I was hooked. They are so brilliantly created; they are like pieces of art. They became the heart and soul of the movie.”

“The only other similar experience I had was on E.T.,” adds Barrymore. “I was able to work with something that was tangible, something that looked like a real being that allowed me to have a chemistry and interaction that cannot be replaced. You are on the ice, touching these whales and there is nothing fake about it. I got so emotional because they looked so beautiful.”

When it came time to shoot the scene in which she swims with the animals, Barrymore donned scuba gear and submerged herself. On a drizzly day, she shot an underwater scene filmed in a seal tank at the Alaska SeaLife Center in nearby Seward. “I did not realize how cold that water would be,” recalls the actress. “When you enter 40-degree water, even in a scuba suit, it feels like knives hitting your head, like a brain freeze. But I wanted Ken to be able to seize that moment because it was important for the film. It breathes with a different energy when it is real.”

Related Link: Read the Full Production Notes for Big Miracle

Drew Barrymore Career Milestones

Drew Barrymore Career Milestones

Birth Name: Drew Barrymore
Birth Date: February 22nd, 1975
Birth Place: Culver City, California, USA

Drew Barrymore has been a favorite of film audiences for almost three decades. She is also enjoying success behind the camera as a producer under her own Flower Films banner, which has produced such hits as “He’s Just Not That Into You,” “Never Been Kissed” and “50 First Dates,” and the actioners “Charlie’s Angels” and “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.” In addition to producing the “Charlie’s Angels” features, Barrymore joined Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu to star in both films, which, together, grossed more than half a billion dollars worldwide.

Earlier this year, Barrymore won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award® and earned an Emmy Award nomination for her performance opposite Jessica Lange in HBO’s “Grey Gardens.” She has also earned praise from both critics and audiences for her performances in a wide range of comedies, including “He’s Just Not That Into You,” with Jennifer Aniston, Ben Affleck and Scarlett Johansson; “Fever Pitch,” in which she starred with Jimmy Fallon under the direction of the Farrelly brothers; George Clooney’s acclaimed biographical satire “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” with Sam Rockwell; Penny Marshall’s “Riding in Cars with Boys”; “The Wedding Singer” and “50 First Dates,” both opposite Adam Sandler; “Home Fries,” opposite Luke Wilson; and “Never Been Kissed,” which marked Barrymore’s producing debut; “Music and Lyrics,” opposite Hugh Grant; and the drama “Lucky You,” for director Curtis Hanson. She also lent her voice to the animated features “Beverly Hill Chihuahua” and “Curious George.”

Recently, Barrymore made her feature film directorial debut with the roller derby comedy “Whip It!,” in which she also starred with Ellen Page and Juliette Lewis, and also starred in “Everybody’s Fine,” with Robert De Niro, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell.

Barrymore made her film debut at age five in the 1980 science fiction thriller “Altered States.” However, it was her scene-stealing performance as the precocious Gertie in Steven Spielberg’s 1982 blockbuster “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” that catapulted the young actress to stardom. She went on to star in the thriller “Firestarter” and the comedy “Irreconcilable Differences,” for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Her many other film credits include “Cat’s Eye,” written by Stephen King; “Far from Home”; “Poison Ivy”; “Guncrazy,” for which she received another Golden Globe nomination, for Best Actress; “Bad Girls”; Herbert Ross’ “Boys on the Side”; “Mad Love”; “Batman Forever”; Woody Allen’s “Everyone Says I Love You”; Andy Tennant’s “Ever After”; and Wes Craven’s horror hit “Scream,” which launched a successful franchise.

Neve Campbell wasn’t top pick for Scream

Neve Campbell wasn't top pick for Scream

Another more famous star was originally cast as the lead in the 1996 film, but had to bow out.

From the opening scene, moviegoers in 1996 were scared silly by Wes Craven’s “Scream.” After all, the character played by the most famous actor in the cast was done in before the opening credits. But that wasn’t how it was originally planned to be.

Drew Barrymore was originally cast in the lead role of Sidney Prescott, but her schedule changed unexpectedly and she wouldn’t be able to film the whole movie. It was actually her idea to switch her to the part of Casey Becker, a less time-consuming but ultimately iconic role. “The first scene was really reminiscent of [the 1979 horror movie] ‘When a Stranger Calls,'” Barrymore told Entertainment Weekly, “and it was absolutely my favorite part.”

After an exhaustive search — both Reese Witherspoon and Brittany Murphy were considered for the role — Neve Campbell, the then 23-year-old star of TV’s “Party of Five,” was cast as Sidney. Now, 14 years later, Ghostface is after her again in “Scream 4.” Click ahead to find out some other little-known facts about this horror movie franchise that just can’t be killed.

‘The American’ takes top spot by a nose

'The American' takes top spot by a nose

George Clooney squeaks by a relatively unknown star in this weekend’s box office race.

In the battle of the box office assassins, A-lister George Clooney barely mustered more firepower with his new chart-topper “The American” than the relatively unknown star of “Machete,” as the summer moviegoing season wrapped feebly during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

“The American,” in which Clooney plays a laconic gunslinger holed up in a picturesque Italian village, earned $16.4 million across the United States and Canada during the four days beginning September 3, distributor Focus Features said on Monday.

“Machete,” a violent fantasy starring character actor Danny Trejo as a Mexican hitman with a penchant for sharp objects, came in at No. 2 with $14.0 million, said 20th Century Fox.

Both studios said they were happy with the openings, which exceeded modest expectations, even if the movies are not destined for box office greatness. Clooney’s movies, for example, usually end up in the $30 million to $40 million range, and Focus doubted the new one would buck that trend.

'The American' takes top spot by a nose

The top 10 boasted one other newcomer, the optimistically titled Drew Barrymore romantic comedy “Going the Distance,” which stalled at the outset. It came in at No. 5 with a disappointing $8.6 million, said Warner Bros. Pictures.

Both “Machete” and “Going the Distance” opened on Friday, while “The American” got a two-day head start and has earned $19.5 million to date.

Last weekend’s champion, the Sony Pictures heist thriller “Takers,” slipped to No. 3 with $13.5 million; its 11-day haul rose to $40 million.

Sales for the top-12 films fell to their lowest level in almost a year, a fitting coda to a summer lineup whose weak performance was obscured by the 3D boom.

While sales from the first weekend in May through Monday are projected to break last year’s record, the increase comes solely from higher ticket prices. The number of tickets sold — a better gauge of Hollywood’s health — hit its lowest level since 1997.

'The American' takes top spot by a nose

Tracking firm Hollywood.com Box-Office predicted summer attendance would come in at 552 million tickets sold, a 2.6 percent drop from last year, and the lowest since 1997 when 540 million were sold. It forecast summer receipts of $4.35 billion, up 2.4 percent from last summer’s record levels. Final tallies will be released on Tuesday.

Movies released in 3D, such as “Toy Story 3,” “Cats & Dogs,” “Despicable Me,” and “The Last Airbender,” allowed movie theaters to charge an average premium of $3 per ticket. In some markets, this pushed the ticket price to almost $20. The average ticket price for all movies was $7.88, according to Hollywood.com Box-Office.

Sales are expected to remain weak for the next few weeks as the studios dump their under-performers so that they can focus on prestige pictures catering to awards voters and on holiday-season crowd-pleasers.

Drew Barrymore steps out in $25 dress

Drew Barrymore steps out in $25 dress

Talk about mixing high and low fashion! What did the adorable Drew Barrymore choose to wear to host the Nylon magazine / Express party this week in Los Angeles?

This gorgeous $25 metallic-printed 3/4-sleeve shift dress from a thrift store paired with $760 Yves Saint Laurent “Tribute” pumps, of course! I love the 1960’s vibe she’s got going on; the psychedelic print, the cut, and the pumped-up voluminous feel of her hair is a total win.

It’s so refreshing to see someone mix it up and have fun with fashion. Just last month she made an appearance in an Oscar de la Renta runway dress–a far cry, financially, from an Austin, TX thrift-store find.

Don’t you love it when vintage Drew — the irreverent, quirky, girl power praising, throw-a-daisy-in-her-hair Drew that we all idolized in the 90’s–steps out on the red carpet?