While standing at the bar of the speakeasy-like Dear Irving Gramercy on Thursday night reviewing questions I had prepared on my phone to ask Drew Barrymore, a woman dressed in head-to-toe flapper gear approached me to ask me about the “magical” black rectangle I was holding in my hand.
“I’ve never seen one of those before,” she said of my iPhone.
She was, of course, a hired entertainer. I was, of course, not prepared for how committed the hosts were to the night’s 1920s theme.
A period-appropriate band played jazz-standards in the front room, while bartenders slung modern updates on classic cocktails in the barroom. A sighting of the Real Housewife Ramona Singer reminded us all that we were indeed in the present, but while Dear Irving’s four rooms are meant to evoke different eras (one chamber is patterned after the times of JFK, another: Marie Antoinette) the 20s vibe was thoroughly communicated. Appropriate, considering the night was meant to celebrate the launch of Nowaday, the female-fronted startup that offers jazz age-themed tours around New York City in a stable of vintage cars.
When Drew Barrymore arrived, she appeared utterly timeless—even though she was dressed in a beaded black gown while stepping out of one of Nowaday’s 1933 Buicks (“Cars are such a work of art, and a lost one at that,” the actress would tell us later).
The theme of the night lent itself to a discussion of the passage of time; buoyed by the fact that 19 years after Barrymore’s version of Charlie’s Angles premiered in cinemas (which the then 25-year-old actress both produced and starred in), a new Kristen Stewart-starring version of the franchise hits theaters this weekend.
So we grabbed a booth in the bar’s F. Scott Fitzgerald room to discuss Barrymore’s feeling on the reboot, her past, present, future, and, well, chairs.
I realized it was the 10 years anniversary of Grey Gardens this year.
Oh, of our Grey Gardens?
I immediately thought in my head “Oh, they should do a sequel,” but then I realized you can’t.
Grey Gardens 2: Still going.
Are there any other historical figures you’d like to play?
It’s funny, all my thoughts really aren’t in film necessarily, so I don’t have a clever answer for that. You know what though, I do want to make a remake of Sullivan’s Travels. Although it’s too perfect. It should just be what it is. But I think that movie has the greatest message ever.
I haven’t seen that one.
Check it out. William Hogan and Veronica Lake. Amazing.
We’re here tonight for a tour company, but when you’re on vacation, what are the things you like to do?
I mostly love to hang out with my kids. We go to concerts, museums, slime pop-ups. We go to the Nutcracker ballet. We do the most fun stuff. Then if I get a minute away, I love to be with my friends. So that is how I spend my time. I do love traveling, though, when I can get away. I love experiencing new places and building little travel guides for when I go to these places.
Where was the last place you went?
I just went to St. Barts. I’d never been there before. It was fun to make a travel guide there. I went to Santa Fe. That blew my mind. I built the best travel guide for Santa Fe.
My Grandparents used to visit that area a lot.
It’s so awesome. Really special place. I went to Georgia O’Keefe‘s house, and drove all over, went up the turquoise trail. I love the actual city of Santa Fe too, the food. I loved it.
I don’t think a lot of people know, but you are producing this Charlie’s Angels.
Our names are on it. Yes, because of the history of the franchise.
Are you excited about this one?
I hope people embrace it. I’m wishing it all the best. I think it’s going in a good direction, young, fun, girl power. I really hope it makes people happy. That’s what Charlie’s Angels is supposed to do. It’s supposed to make you want to get out of the theater, grab your best friends, and drive fast.
At the same time a lot of people are talking about your appearances in the franchise and what it meant to them.
They’re all near and dear to my heart, and I was involved in every aspect of it. It’s not often that a girl gets the chance to produce an amazing high octane franchise. That’s a lot of pressure, because there’s a lot of money, but you also get to make stories where girls get to kick ass yet support each other, and love each other, and want to laugh with each other, and want to go on dates at night and then talk about the dates while they’re in the middle of everything else. They’re just girls with a great capacity for fun and a wicked sense of humor. And to live in that world for five years straight was really a blessed thing for me.
You see so many films that have of followed in that footsteps, maybe not enough, though…
Hopefully, they will make as many films as possible that make women happy, and make women feel good, and celebrate women and make people feel confidant and joyful. That’s a powerful combination. I think that the epitome of Charlie’s Angels is confidence and joy.
You’re working on a talk show right now.
Yeah, that’s the plan. A big, exciting potential endeavor.
Any other exciting projects coming up?
I’ve been working really hard on Flower Home and the design tier of my life has captivated all of my attention lately. It has really given me a lot of fulfillment. It’s something I love and work with so much in my real life, that it’s effortless to incorporate it. I’m so inspired by design all the time. Now I like to say I make chairs. That feels really fun to be able to say.
There are so many makeup lines now, but how many people make chairs?
I know. You’re like, ‘What character do you want to play’ and I’m like ‘I don’t know, Hans Wegner.’ I want to play Hans Wegner or Eames.
Are there other industries you want to break into?
Travel writing. That’s always been my end game. It’s hard with kids my age right now, but I could easily end up in that field with a very content life. I love travel, and I love to write about it and make those guides. And I also love photography. I was doing a lot of photography for a few years, and then I had kids and I stopped. But I could get back into that. I could be a one-man shop. I’ll write your story. I’ll take your pictures and I’ll build a guide for your travel magazine.
You could write us a story.
I would love to. Please commission me to do that. It would be a privilege.
Or you could do a goop-like newsletter.
I have done some stuff for goop. Not travel, but some other stuff.
You could do your own.
Yeah, I love it.
Where do you hope to be in ten years?
I guess travel writing?
Maybe a travel writer, and very connected to my children.