Question: It's incredible that in 1988 all these different factions - oil barons, Greenpeace, the native Alaskan Inupiat tribe, the US President and the Soviets - all managed to work together, despite this event taking place during the Cold War.
Drew Barrymore: Yes, it's nice to show everybody in a good light, but that's what this film is all about. Beyond the whales, which I love so much, it's about people who are able to put their agendas aside and stop finger-pointing, and just realise that they completely oppose each other but are willing to put it aside for a minute for something - that's just amazing whenever that can happen.
Question: Do you think the film also gives an opinion on the nature of news-gathering in itself? Because it seems like some of it is done with good intentions, yet others look to exploit it, perhaps politically.
Drew Barrymore: I think that this is a great story because although it is a movie, it actually all really happened. That's what's so amazing, is that it's true, and so much of it manifested from the news. We chose to watch our news then, more than we look to our newspapers and magazines and news programs now. News was just doled out in a very timely fashion but it really was 'The News' and the word that got this out to everybody, that galvanised everybody to become so aware, that's not any different from the world we live in now, where people let each other know about things in a very big, grand way and everybody is aware of it. I think it's interesting that in 1988 to today, it actually has a lot to do with the news and how things got out there that really kept this whole thing alive and escalating.
Question: Tell us about the character you play, Rachel, who is an animal rights activist. She is based on a real person, who was around at the time of this story of freeing these trapped whales in the Arctic Circle in 1988, is that right?
Drew Barrymore: Yeah. It's based on Cindy Lowry.
Question: Can you talk a little bit about this character in the film and why you wanted to play her?
Drew Barrymore: I like her because she is someone who doesn't sleep and fights for the greater good but her passion is a little bit messy: she gets in there with bullhorns and gets in people's faces that are in a high government position, or tells people, "You have to do this in order to make it work," which is not a popular opinion. I like people who are willing to be so tireless in their efforts but that also are a bit messy about it because it's just not very interesting, someone who is totally buttoned up all the time, I don't think they seem very human. The director Ken Kwapis was like, "Drew, when you fight for things passionately, you're messy and she's messy, so let's use that." I was like, "Okay. That's perfect." I like it. I like passion. It's a good thing.
Question: So what animals have you fought for? We know you are a big animal lover in real life. What animals have you rescued?
Drew Barrymore: Lots of dogs - lots and lots and lots of dogs.
Question: Do you find that society sometimes is disposable with animals and you have to raise your mighty voice?
Drew Barrymore: That's definitely one way to put it and I like it! I love dogs. I love dogs so much. I would be just really happy working with dogs.
Question: So you understand her passion for rescuing these whales?
Drew Barrymore: I think if you have any empathy, how can you not? I love whales. They're beautiful. I have tremendous respect for them. I wish people would just leave them alone.
Question: Obviously, in the movie the whales were animatronic, but did you get to go out and get up close and personal with some real whales at all?
Drew Barrymore: I did spend a bit of time with some whales in the research of this movie. They are the most extraordinary creatures. I read a great book called Leviathan, so if anybody wants to learn anything about whales - obviously, I'm no authority on whales - but it was a great book for me to read.
Question: What was your impression being that close to a whale? Did you get to swim with any?
Drew Barrymore: I did not get to swim with any. They wouldn't let me swim with the real whales, they said it was dangerous. I would have ridden one if they had given me the chance! But at least I got to do the scuba diving. I swam with dolphins. I have this picture of this dolphin on my computer that I swam with. I took a little picture of his face. He has the sweetest eyes you've ever seen in your life.
Question: How come you did the scuba diving yourself?
Drew Barrymore: I wanted to scuba dive. I was like, "Don't let anyone else do this. I want to do it." So I did go scuba diving in Alaska, and I swam with harbour seals which was so cool. It's so quiet down there. It's so nice. It's like, "Oh, goodbye world. Thank you."
Question: How cold did it get, shooting this film in Alaska?
Drew Barrymore: Really cold. And it gets progressively colder. Like, it's very different in September than it is in December or November. It's cold. But the weirder thing almost than the cold is the dark. It just gets really dark, very early, so you're in kind of predominant darkness. That was a little bit challenging.
Question: How much were you actually filming on location outside Anchorage as opposed to being on a soundstage?
Drew Barrymore: Most of the time we were out on the ice flow - most of the time. I only shot a couple of interiors. And they were weirdly done ironically at the beginning of filming when it wasn't that cold. We were out there the whole time.
Question: There is a little moment in the movie when the Inupiat boy is selling cardboard to stand on, to all the people that have descended on his small corner of the world: did you learn little lessons like that on the ice, things that you weren't aware of? How did you survive in Alaska?
Drew Barrymore: Canada Goose products. Canada Goose. It's the best. If you see anyone with a Canada Goose jacket on, you know they're kind of okay inside. And it's definitely the obvious, like layering. You can't not layer because you get really hot inside and you're like, "I don't need this extra layer," and then you get outside and it's freezing. So I go back to the Canada Goose. I swear to God that company saved my life.
Question: You have been in this business a long time, you grew up in Hollywood, but what is your perspective now about Hollywood?
Drew Barrymore: I don't know. I love it here. I love this crazy town. It works for me. I like what I do and where I am. It's just a wonderful thing. It's also a fun thing that if you really have fantasies about other lives and being other people and living the way other people do, it actually can provide this amazing insight into that because you go away to these places or you live as different people. I really like to get into things in the way where I shut the rest of the world out and really immerse myself. I now know what it's like to be an environmentally-conscious person in Alaska, for months on end. So I know what it's like to have different lives through this job. I think that's one of the best benefits of Hollywood is that it can be very horse-y blinder-ish. You can get really lost in it and lose touch with the outside world, but it can also be a great catalyst to learning a lot about the world.
Question: Is that what it takes to survive in Hollywood?
Drew Barrymore: Those are two different things. I think to survive in Hollywood is not necessarily learning about the world. I think you have to learn how to survive in whatever place you're in, and just be a strong, grateful person.
Question: There are two very different women in this movie: the first one is your character, Rachel, who is fighting for her own opinion, and then there is the other woman, the news reporter played by Kristen Bell, who is more interested in breaking the story, and in the way she looks. Do you ever find yourself in those different worlds because you feel so oriented by what you really want to do, about your career, but sometimes you have to worry about how you look?
Drew Barrymore: I don't really care about the way I look. I mean, I care about the way I look in the way that I want to have self-esteem and feel good, but I don't really care what people think. I just don't. I think you just want to really feel good about yourself and not be so worried and not fall prey to those silly pressures. It's just ridiculous.
Question: Maybe that's your secret for doing so well.
Drew Barrymore: I hope so. I guess so. I'm really happy. I think happiness is so important and being healthy and living a positive life and just not feeling crazy inside, and getting good sleep and just all the sort of things that you learn as you grow up: maturity and healthiness and happiness. I never let it get to me, all that stuff.
Question: So what do you do to stay healthy? Do you work out? Do you eat a certain way?
Drew Barrymore: I luckily love my vegetables. I love greens. I eat a lot of greens. I think you just know, you just have this barometer that it's too much of this or too little of that. I just try to be cognisant of what would be healthy. It's the same thing everybody else is working from, I don't have any radical secrets or anything. I wish I did. I wash my face all the time. I moisturize. I eat my veggies.
Question: And what makes you smile?
Drew Barrymore: I love laughing. Like anytime it's just silly. There is nothing better than when you just have a gigantic laugh, especially when you can't stop it and it is uncontrollable and you just have one of those magical moments where you're like, "This is a moment. I know it's going to end but everybody is laughing so hard at the same thing right now." Those are my favourite moments.
Question: What's the last thing that made you laugh or a moment that you recall in which you were really, really happy and laughing out loud?
Drew Barrymore: I went to Venice and we were on a gondola, and the sun was shining and I was drinking a beer. I was on my way to an art museum that I have been wanting to go to for years - I'm really happy when I'm traveling internationally - and the sun rays were shining through and beating on my face and we were on the water and I was really happy. Life was so good at that moment. I didn't have any worries, I was just completely in the moment.
Question: What kind of art do you like? Alaska is famous for its art work. Did you buy anything up there?
Drew Barrymore: Not too much when I was up there. I love so much [art], it's so hard to say. I do love a lot of modern art not so much contemporary - sometimes it's a little cold and modern - I love what the last hundred years has produced. I love the collections in Venice. And I love the streets of Venice when you're just walking through those tiny little streets and you're getting lost and you're just like, "This is so cool." It's so beautiful. That to me is like art. I love going to see museums. I'm crazy about trying to see a little bit of everything. There are great galleries down here in Culver City that just have new emerging artists, and then you can take a trip to like the MOCA. When I was in New York, I went to the Neue Galerie.
Question: You say you love to travel, where would you like to go next? Where is on your dream destination list?
Drew Barrymore: I love Australia. I have been to Sydney 15 times but I haven't got to explore other parts and I really, really want to. I love all the food, I love the culture and the people. It's super awesome down there. I would love to go and be able to spend more time there. I'm just obsessed with Sri Lanka. I think I'm supposed to go there. But when I work with the UN in the school feeding program, that's one of the places we are going to go next.
Question: Did you learn anything about Russia from doing this movie?
Drew Barrymore: I have not visited Russia yet and I don't have too much of a connection, but I would like to develop it. I love Russia from what I know. I would like to go there.
Question: You have a tattoo on your forearm that reads, "Breathe," so what is the significance of that? Do you need to take a moment to exhale sometimes?
Drew Barrymore: A little bit. Honestly, ask yourself if you have ever been worse after you take a deep breath when you really need to. It can be as simple as losing your cool, but if you just stop and take a deep breath in a second, I just think you'll have at least one per cent more grace. I don't think there's anything about it that's really negative. It's that one positive. I believe in a polarity, that everything has a positive and a negative.
Question: You seem to be in such a happy place right now, but if you had a chance to go back and talk to Drew Barrymore as a 15-year-old, what would you say?
Drew Barrymore: I don't know. I would want to tell myself not to worry as much as I did, but I don't know if that's even possible. No-one can really take that away until you realise not to worry so much. If I could excoriate one thing that was a little tough growing up, it was the amount of worry I felt inside. By the way, there is a great book out, I think it's called Dear Me: A Letter To My 16-Year-Old Self , where all these people wrote letters to themselves, and it's actually really, really good - Stephen King wrote a great letter - and I was just reading excerpts from it and crying on an aeroplane, like, "This is so good!"
Question: So are you worry-free these days?
Drew Barrymore: I'm not worry-free but I don't think anything is life or death, and so I just feel a lot more absolved from it all.
Cast: Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, Dermot Mulroney, Vanessa Shaw
Director: Ken Kwapis
Running Time: 107 minutes
Inspired by the incredible true story that captured the hearts of millions across the world, Big Miracle, tells the amazing tale of a small town news reporter Adam Carlson and animal loving conservationist Rachel Kramer who come together, to save a family of majestic grey whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle.
Adam cannot wait to escape the northern tip of Alaska, where he has spent the entire summer reporting on trivial stories. Just before his departure, Adam stumbles upon a story that will change his career forever, saving the lives of these helpless trapped whales.
The whole world, and his archrival news journalist, Jill Jerard come chasing in on it, too. With an oil tycoon, heads of state and hungry journalists all descent upon the frigid outpost, the one who worries Adam the most, is Rachel Kramer. Not only is Rachel an outspoken environmentalist, she's also his ex-girlfriend…
Rachel and Adam must rally an unlikely coalition of Inuit natives, oil companies and Russian and American military to set aside their differences and free the whales. Saving these endangered animals becomes a shared and touching cause for the entire world that leads to an ice-breaking, historic moment in time.
A number of heart warming, passionate and inspiring scenes will have all the family huddled round and entertained from start to the cliff hanger end, every time! This year's incredible rescue adventure movie, Big Miracle!
Blu-ray Special Features:
A Big Miracle in Alaska
Truth is Stanger than Fiction
Deleted scenes with introductions by Director Ken Kwapis:
Jill Spends The Night
Larry King Interview
The Prince Of Whales
Jalapeno and Flan