Drew did an interview for the New York Time Magazine where she talks with Robert Osborne. The two talk about movies and Drew shares how she does not feel she is a good actor.
As far as on-screen duos go, Robert Osborne and Drew Barrymore seem like an unlikely pair. He was raised in the small town of Colfax, Wash. (population 2,800) during the ’40s and amused himself with reading books while his parents worked. She grew up amidst the glitz and glamour of Hollywood in the ’80s, the youngest in a long family line of legendary actors, and made her first television appearance before she was even a year old. But they share an almost obsessive love for movies, particularly black-and-white films made decades ago. It’s this connection that makes Osborne and Barrymore light up together as the host and co-host, respectively, of TCM’s “The Essentials.” The show, which premiered in 2001 and airs on Saturday nights, puts timeless, classic films in the spotlight with commentary and fun bits of trivia supplied by the hosts (in the past those duties have been taken up by everyone from Rob Reiner to Alec Baldwin). This season marks Barrymore’s third as Osborne’s wingwoman, and the two clearly enjoy the back-and-forth banter — as well as the goofy handshakes, thumb wars and screwball comedy moments that often happen after the cameras stop rolling. T caught up with the actors on set to talk about the films that forever changed them, the characters they’ve admired and crushed on, and what’s missing from the box office today.
You both have a love for movies from the past; where does this come from?
OSBORNE: Well, my love of movies started when I was 7 years old, living in a small town, going to the movies all the time, and finding the people in the movies more interesting than the people in my small town. Also at that time, it wasn’t that easy to find out about movies. So when I had a curiosity, it sent me into research about the people in the movies or the movies being made. The more I found out about movies, the more interesting they were to me.
BARRYMORE: I just started working when I was 11 months old. So I enjoyed, like, getting to know the medium in which I was working but I so much more got obsessed with the stories that filmmaking told …
OSBORNE: But that’s part of your blood, that’s part of your DNA. I don’t have family that was anywhere near show business.
BARRYMORE: Well, that was also my way of getting to know them. If you want to learn about your grandfather, watch “Twentieth Century,” “Dinner at Eight,” “Grand Hotel” — all movies that we’ve done on “The Essentials.” And yeah, I mean, films were not only what I work in, but you’re absolutely right, it was a way to get to know my relatives.
What films shaped you the most?
OSBORNE: I was shaped by the heroes in the films I saw, which you always want to emulate and be like. I wanted to be like Alan Ladd, Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart. I think one of the things that’s missing from films today are real heroes for you to emulate. Our heroes have become, you know, antiheroes more than heroes. But I would say, if any film affected me a lot, it would be “A Place in the Sun,” because when I saw that, I was like 17 or 18, and I so understood Montgomery Clift’s dilemma of liking Shelly Winters because she was kind to him, and he was lonely and he felt out of place. And then when he had a chance to be with Elizabeth Taylor, you know, I can understand his dilemma of wanting to not be with Shelly Winters anymore. And just the angst he suffered; I was at an age when I enjoyed suffering angst. It had a huge effect on me.
BARRYMORE: I have a longer list: “Pollyanna,” “Captains Courageous,” “Black Stallion,” “Foxes,” um, “Excalibur”? I was, like, obsessed with “Camelot” and “Excalibur” and “Anne of a Thousand Days” — any double-VHS-giant double-beta set of those films. I just loved the swashbuckling nature of them, I was obsessed. I loved watching men in cinema, and I liked watching young girls, whether it was a Jodie Foster in “Foxes” or a Hayley Mills in “Pollyanna.” It could be squeaky clean and it could be super like L.A.- streets-gritty, but there was no barrier between. I liked older men and younger girls. That was what I responded to in film.
You lived through those characters a little, right?
BARRYMORE: I wanted Richard Burton and Spencer Tracy, and I wanted Jodie Foster and Hayley Mills.
What movie just blew your mind?
OSBORNE: I remember one that had a deep effect on me. I don’t know if it blew my mind, but I remember when I was a kid and saw “Meet Me in St. Louis” for the first time…
BARRYMORE: Ding, ding went the trolley!