Drew Barrymore Was Told By Studio to Tone Down Her Ugly in Never Been Kissed

Drew Barrymore
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Drew Barrymore had to scale back her performance during the 1999 romantic comedy Never Been Kissed.

Never Been Kissed was very interesting because it was our first official film for Flower Films,” the actress, 49, explained during the Friday, April 19, episode of The Drew Barrymore Show, referring to her production company. “And at that time, people were very wary of actors being producers. A lot of it wasn’t necessarily working, and it didn’t mean because you were an actor, you knew how to produce the film.”

Barrymore noted it was “about the economics,” explaining if a film “didn’t work” and an actor produced it, “you are likely not to be able to do it again.”

“I was so scared during the whole film because I knew if it didn’t work, we weren’t going to get another chance,” Barrymore admitted. “We had so much fun making it, it was the best time ever, but I had a clenched stomach the whole time.”

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Barrymore noted that she would receive notes from studio execs who would say, “I’m sorry, but you’re just looking too unattractive.” She added, “And I was like, ‘Good.’ And they were like, ‘No, no, no, no, no.’ They were like, ‘It’s too far.’ So I was forced to even tone it down a little bit because I had gone even farther.”

Barrymore explained that she agreed to alter her performance as Josie Gellar after the studio “said something that appealed to my sensibilities rather than my ego,” which was, “We don’t want you to lose the heart because you’re going so far for the comedy.”

Drew Barrymore Was Told By Studio to Tone Down Her Ugly in Never Been Kissed
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“I was like, ‘Great argument. Let me dial it back a little bit,’” Barrymore recalled. “And so Josie, what you see there, is me dialed back, and it came out and it worked. And we got really lucky and I’m very, very grateful and I would walk around just going, ‘I can’t believe this worked. We’re gonna get a second shot.’”

Never Been Kissed centers around Josie, a young journalist at the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper who goes back to her former high school for research purposes. As Josie becomes a member of the popular group — thanks to her brother, Rob (David Arquette) — her investigation becomes threatened when she falls for her English teacher, Sam Coulson (Michael Vartan).

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Barrymore has previously taken a trip down memory lane while recalling her experience with Never Been Kissed.

“It’s raw and ridiculous, beautiful and helps you decide what is important and what isn’t,” she wrote via Instagram in April 2019. “But we also loved humor. And if pain isn’t mixed with insane laughter, then it doesn’t work. Humor and humility are linked like besties! And everyone feels vulnerable while they are figuring out who they are and what they stand for. It also helps when you have the best cast and great music and everyone is making the same story! Josie Grossie forever.”