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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Drew Barrymore

'Going the Distance' director: Drew and Justin's real-life romance made working with them easier

August 24, 2010 |  2:30 pm

Many directors would be wary of working with two actors who have been involved in a longtime on-again, off-again romantic relationship — not Nanette Burstein. The filmmaker, who directed Drew Barrymore and Justin Long in the upcoming romantic comedy "Going the Distance," said the pair's history made working with them "easier."

"They were just so happy together, and they had this chemistry that you can’t create," Burstein said at the movie's premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Monday night. "Plus, they had the intimacy, too, to draw on. Sometimes you get couples that fall in love in the middle of making a movie, but they don’t have that history together to draw on. And here you had both."

In recent years, Burstein has gained notice for her work as a documentarian. In 2002, she made "The Kid Stays in the Picture," which centered around producer and former Paramount studio head Robert Evans. Six years later, she took home the best director prize at Sundance for her work on "American Teen," which followed high school seniors in Indiana. 

But after working on documentaries for the last 15 years, she was ready to try her hand in the fiction world. The script for "Going the Distance" — which landed a coveted spot on the Hollywood Black List in 2008 — spoke to her because of its focus on a unique kind of a relationship.

"I related to the subject matter. I’ve had long distance relationships before. And I realized, 'Huh, there’s really never been a movie about this extremely relatable topic,'" she said. "And I love the humor and I love the sincerity of it. So I just wanted to make a Hollywood movie with the same sort of tone that I loved about some of the documentaries I’ve made."

But she didn't leave all of her documentary filmmaking skills behind during production on "Going the Distance." During one scene, in which Barrymore and Long's characters connect on a long first date, Burstein opted to shoot at the bar she co-owns in Manhattan's Chelsea district called The Half-King. She only used a "couple of small HD cameras" and all-natural light.

"I shot it like a documentary," she smiled.

For more from the "Going the Distance" red carpet, including interviews with Barrymore and Long, check out full coverage on our sister blog Ministry of Gossip.

— Amy Kaufman



'Going the Distance' premiere: Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Christina Applegate

Drew Barrymore and Justin Long will go a greater distance

August 12, 2010 |  3:56 pm

The marketing has just started rolling out for the romantic comedy "Going the Distance," but in case you were rushing online to book tickets, don't do that just yet. Warner Bros. is moving back the release date for the romantic comedy by one week to Sept. 3, Labor Day weekend.

It's not the first change for the film, which originally was dated for Oct. 8 before it was moved up to the summer. The new date is historically a pretty poor weekend for moviegoing. (Last year it saw the release of "Gamer," "Final Destination" and "All About Steve" -- average four-day box office: $13 million.)

But the studio wanted a little more breathing room after the female-targeted "The Switch" and "Eat Pray Love," which open one and two weeks before, respectively. In a statement, Warner Bros. distribution president Dan Fellman said that “moving to the Labor Day weekend not only allows us to take advantage of the long holiday weekend, but gives us some distance from the other female-driven films releasing in August." And the Sept. 3 date has no other wide releases besides the male-skewing Robert Rodriguez extravaganza "Machete."

Fellman also said that the new date allows for "an opportunity to build more awareness and word-of-mouth for a movie we believe has strong appeal for a broad audience."

The "Going the Distance" campaign might need some new energy. Documentarian Nanette Burstein's feature debut, which looks at the comedic and dramatic dimensions of a couple's long-distance relationship, is tracking poorly among the core female demographic. According to pre-release audience surveys, more women younger than 30 are interested in seeing the mid-budget crime action movie "Takers" and genre title "The Last Exorcism," neither of which is seen as nearly as female-centric as "Distance."

As for men, well, let's just say that according to those same surveys, men are roughly as interested in "Going the Distance" as they are in "Eat Pray Love."

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Drew Barrymore and Justin Long in 'Going the Distance.' Credit: Warner Bros.

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Preview review: Is 'Going the Distance' the next '500 Days of Summer'?

May 21, 2010 |  1:30 pm

2010_going_the_distance_001 We'll be honest: Nowadays, we feel as if it's nearly impossible to find a romantic comedy we can get behind.

We're still reeling from the saccharine, false-romantic story lines that have hit the box office this year: "Valentine's Day," "The Back-Up Plan" and "When in Rome," just to name a few.

Where is that rare film -- like "500 Days of Summer" -- that not only makes us laugh but seems to reflect an actual living, breathing relationship?

From what we can tell from its trailer, August's "Going the Distance," starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, might just be that movie.

The film tells the story of Erin (Barrymore) and Garrett (Long), who fall for each other during a whirlwind summer romance in New York City. Their connection is so strong that they decide to try the long-distance thing after only a couple of months, when Erin has to head back to her home in San Francisco. But they both have their friends and relatives whispering in their ears -- Garrett's friend Box (Jason Sudeikis) is tired of his incessant text-messaging, and Erin's sister Corrine (Christina Applegate) worries about the fledgling relationship. 

We'll admit we already had relatively high expectations for the movie. Its script was placed on Hollywood's notorious Black List, which names the most popular unproduced screenplays annually. And its director is Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Nanette Burstein, best known for her work on "On the Ropes" and "American Teen."

Maybe it's because Barrymore and Long are a couple in real life that their on-screen chemistry strikes us as authentic. They've been through ups and downs in their own relationship that seem to mirror the issues of the couple on screen. But we just like the feel of the trailer. The vignettes of the two kissing and running into each other's arms at the airport should feel cheesy, but they don't. And after her turns in flops such as "Everybody's Fine" and "Whip It," it's nice to see Barrymore back in a role where she seems like herself.

<br/><a href="http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/exclusive-going-the-distance-trailer/5uxjvgd?fg=sharenoembed" target="_new"title="Exclusive: 'Going the Distance' Trailer">Video: Exclusive: 'Going the Distance' Trailer</a>

-- Amy Kaufman


Photo: Drew Barrymore and Justin Long star in "Going the Distance." Credit: Warner Bros.


Fresh Faces: Charlie Day

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