This week in theaters Drew Barrymore and Justin Long star in a modern day romantic comedy (which seems almost biographical) about a couple torn apart by dueling coasts in Going the Distance. The couple managed to somehow pull off a relationship on and off screen despite all the nasty rumors circling around them. Not too long ago we got a chance to sit down with both of them at a press conference and talk a little bit about making the film.
Barrymore seems so at ease in front of a group of people and Long was cracking a number of jokes which kept it entertaining. They swapped a number of cute comments to one another, calling the other person a good kisser and what not. It, like the movie, was somehow managed to avoid being cheesy and was actually rather charming.
Check out the cute couple talking about Going the Distance below…
Drew, Erin is more modern, sassy, and outspoken than some of the rom-com characters you’ve played. I wonder if the fact that she was a more maybe a modern woman attracted you to the part?
DB: Yeah, I definitely was excited to play — I just wasn’t in that place in my life where I wanted to play a cuckoo, wacky role-reversal sort of scenario. I wanted to play someone — you’re all travelers, and you try to make distance work with relationships, and someone who can hang out with guys, and loves women, but isn’t like, has spine and is funny and I feel like I relate to that kind of person right now in my life, so it was a pleasure for me to get to improv and work on a much more free-flowing way where you could play around and you don’t have to be so censored, because you had an R-rating. That, to me, was just an absolute pleasure.
What was the most challenging scene?
DB: My most challenging, well, one of the challenges I was most excited about was doing the drunk scene. Me and Nanette (Burstein) really focused on what type of drunk is she, and what can we ad-lib, and what can be spontaneous, like, if you were really angry, how would you just let loose? It was the most fun day at work ever, because I just really just let loose.
JL: I would say some of the naked stuff was a little uncomfortable, but I think the most challenging was trying to keep a straight face around these two clowns (referring to Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day). A lot of this intimate, sexual stuff around a room full of 30, 40 grown men, that was a challenge.
I thought the casting of Christina Applegate and Drew as sisters was genius. Both of both started in this business when you were kids, and you’ve lived your whole life in the public eye. When did you realize that you were going to have this relationship of your personal life with the rest of the world, and how has it affected you?
DB: I thought it was interesting. I felt like we started to really look alike, which I thought was cool. I love when people cast siblings that actually feasibly could have come from the same womb, so I felt like we started to morph. We used to be in a dance class together when we were kids, but she looked really good in spandex, and I did not. I was horrified, in the corner, but I’ve known her forever! We have a lot of parallels; it worked for us.
The key moment in any romantic comedy is that first kiss. When you see something like that in a script, is it something you think about, or is it just part of the role, and you just think of it as one more part of the role?
JL: (Jokingly) Yeah, I was like, “necessary evil.” Okay. Here we go. No, the first kiss for us, in the movie, was very sloppy, we were drunk….
JL: We were stoned! Sorry. We were stoned and it was just so easy to do, we’re so comfortable. I like to think about my grandmother. Just because she’s always been an inspiration to me, in my life. (Laughs) No, I think you just hope that you’re invested in the scene, hopefully, and sometimes it can be a surprise when you’ve never kissed anyone before you’ve just met recently, and people have different ways with kissing, and sometimes it can be very jarringly uncomfortable. There can be very little movement involved, and then a quick, sudden movement from the tongue that you don’t expect.
DB: I just was lucky, for me, because he’s a good kisser. So I was like, Phew! Thank God. It’s the worst when you’re kissing someone who’s not a good kisser, and you’re trying to make it look good, and you feel like you’re just working on your own. At least it was a real team effort.
JL: She’s a great kisser too, I just want to reiterate. Right back at you.
Was the phone sex scene scripted or off the cuff?
DB: I think the Marky Mark was written, for sure and I was so excited to hit that. I really wanted to hit hard.
JL: I think you told him that and he got. remember that?
DB: I did tell him that. I ran into him at an award show and I was like, “I just talked about how hot you are in your underwear and you’re sexy.”
JL: It didn’t go over great. I think in his defense, it is a strange thing to just come up and say. I don’t think he was prepared for it but I think he was flattered.
DB: Who would not be excited about that? And he’s a very nice guy. I’ve had other conversations with him that went much better than that. Nothing against him for sure. That was a great scene written and I was really excited to go out there and try it because I just thought this is one of those things that’s going to fail miserably and be a really gross, upsetting moment or it could be fun and exciting. It was just one of those scenes you just have to kind of go for it not knowing if it’s going to work or not but don’t compromise along the way because you’re afraid of it.
And you were on the phone with each other?
DB: We shot it simultaneously.
JL: We were comparing who had a more awkward experience, me as a guy in front of a room full of men simulating masturbation, or Drew. I said, All the guys in my room, all the crew guys were trying to make jokes to keep it light. They were making sex jokes. So it made it kind of more awkward. I’d have to laugh and then get into this weird sexual mode. But I think Drew had it more awkward because she said everyone in the room was being stone cold silent and respectful and it made it that much weirder for her. They were tiptoeing around and like, whispering. But then Nanette kept coming over to me and she kept describing cinematically how to masturbate, how it would look better if I (he demonstrated different ways of masterbating with his hand)… She’s like, “You know, try kinda up like this. You can kind of go in like this.” I was like, Nanette, “I think I know how to do it. I’ve had a lot of experience.”
How did it feel to have a real ensemble in the group of actors you guys assembled for this movie?
DB: I find that films for me watching them work best when you’re kind of really invested in the whole group of people. I love films, whether it’s like a Judd Apatow or Christopher Guest, they have this great sort of alumni quality and you’re just really into all the people in it. You really like the people’s world so when you cut back and forth between a couple and it’s like their friends or family or it’s just this group of people interacting, I love when the chemistry goes far beyond just the couple. This movie stands on that and Jim Gaffigan who’s not in this room right now, I almost sabotaged every single one of his takes because he’s so funny. I think this movie, if you like it, at least one of the reasons I like it best is because of all everybody in it.
JL: I pride myself on being able to hold it together and being stable and keep it together. I’ve never had a harder time keeping a straight face than working with these guys. Rob Riggle and Kristen Schall, we were so lucky to be surrounded by all these people.
DB: I ruined most of her takes. I felt terrible.
Do you see this as a recession romance?
DB: I just feel like I personally want something that I can escape into and sort of forget what’s going on around me, but I don’t want to lose sight of being able to relate to something. So for me, I just want that beautiful striking balance. I feel like this film has that. I’m laughing, but I’m crying and relating and emotional about it. I feel like it gets surprisingly real, but then it does come and save you and make you laugh. I think the question is more eloquent than the answer actually.
JL: I disagree. I was indifferent about the question and I loved the answer. I also think the fiscal realities of both the characters play a large part and it was nice to see that played out, something that a lot of people, especially now can relate to and just the things that you take for granted when you enter into a long distance relationship, chief among them the logistics. Just getting from point A to B and what is involved with that.
DB: You’re like I can’t. You want to see each other but you can’t because of money or schedule.
JL: I ran out of fuel for my hot air balloon.
DB: Exactly. Obligation, absolutely.
Check out Barrymore and Long in Going the Distance September 3rd!