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Local News / Entertainment

Saturday, 17 December, 2011 9:53 PM

Drew Barrymore goes roller skating with fans to promote "Whip It"

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

Drew Barrymore speaks with the media outside BonaVenture Family Skate Center on Sept. 11, 2009.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. -- Hundreds of fans of all ages waited several hours in line for a chance to skate with Drew Barrymore. The Hollywood actress and director appeared at BonaVenture Skating Center in Farmington Hills to promote her new movie, "Whip It." Barrymore arrived at around 3:30 p.m. on Friday. The new movie was filmed in the Detroit area in the summer of 2008. Members of the Detroit Derby Girls, who were included in the film, were on hand for the special event. A red carpet with velvet ropes was set up behind the skating rink so Barrymore could speak to the media.

"Whip It" was the first film that Barrymore has ever directed. She also co-stars in the movie alongside Ellen Page, Jimmy Fallon, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Eve, Daniel Stern and Marcia Gay Harden. Barrymore also made stops to promote the film with derby girls in Boston, L.A., San Diego and Austin, Texas. But on September 11, all attention was focused on Farmington Hills.

"We're doing pretty much a city a day," said Barrymore about the tour to promote the new movie. "I want to bring this film all over the place. We're running, not skating. Detroit definitely has my heart."

Scenes for the new movie were filmed all over metro Detroit including places in Novi, Royal Oak, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Troy, Saline, Ferndale, Birch Run and in Frankenmuth. Extras for this film were chosen by Barrymore herself.

"I handpicked everybody," the Hollywood actress and director said. "I'm a very detail-oriented person. If there's one thing in this movie that you don't like, it's probably absolutely my fault. And hopefully, if there is something you like, then my hard work might have paid off. That would be a miracle."

The first fan in line who waited to go skating with Barrymore showed up at 2:30 p.m. on the day before the star's arrival. Karen Cronk is a 31-year-old resident of Pontiac, Mich. "It's worth it, I wanted to be the first one in line," Cronk said. "She's my favorite actress. I love her a lot and I love all her movies."

"This particular film just means more exposure to the state for people who will watch the film," said Janet Lockwood, Director of the Michigan Film Office. "It is a darling film and a family film. Lots of different ages will go. That could bring some tourists who want to see where these various sites are. She spent a lot of money. She being Drew's company, spent a lot of money making this movie. Yes, they got an incentive. But they spent a lot more than they received. It's just a positive sign of one industry, at least, moving forward."

Nicole Wrona of St. Clair Shores, Mich. and Avery Shelton of Redford, Mich. showed up at around 11 p.m. the night before the event. "She's a good actress," Shelton said. "I think she's a really great person to look up to."

"She's sort of direct, which I think is inspirational for a lot of people," Wrona added. "We don't camp out on a regular basis."

"It was one of the most amazing things I've ever done," said Vega Vendetta, a member of the Detroit Derby Girls and an extra in the film. "It was neat seeing Drew work and all the actors. Everything was so spot on, so quick, so organized. It was really amazing to see the behind-the-scenes process. She was very personal and would come up and hug us. She would let us know how good of a job we're doing. Late when we had long hours, sometimes 14 hours, she would pause everything and blare some loud music and get us dancing. She had a neat style how she directed."

Raquel Welch starred in a roller skating movie, Kansas City Bomber, that was released in 1972. When asked who is a better skater, Barrymore replied: "I love Raquel Welch. She gave our movie her blessing when we first started filming. She is like my hero. I'm going to say she's probably a better skater."

This is what can happen when a star comes to Michigan and films in our state. There are movie premieres, star sightings and special events like this one. Our state currently offers filmmakers and television producers a 42 percent tax incentive to work in the state. Some lawmakers in Lansing want the tax credit to be lowered.

"There is a part of the legislature that don't like entitlement programs and that's their right to not like them, " Lockwood said. "And they'd like to see it scaled back. They wanted it scaled back last year, they were unsuccessful. We'll see if they are this year. I hope they're not only business I'd like to see it have a couple of years to grow. Interestingly enough, those who are not in favor in the incentives are in favor of the new studios. And of course, we couldn't have one without the other. They go together, hand in glove."

Look for "Whip It" to open in theaters nationwide on Friday, October 2, 2009.

Related Story: Drew Barrymore to appear at roller skating event

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Detroit Derby Girls pose for a picture just before Drew Barrymore arrived.

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

Barrymore answers questions from the media including AmericaJR.com.

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

A huge line of people that wrapped around several times.

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

The first person in line arrived at 2:30 p.m. on the day before Barrymore's arrival.

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

Janet Lockwood, Director of the Michigan Film Office, speaks with the media.

 

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