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Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for
September 29, 2009

Drew Barrymore makes her feature film directorial debut with Whip It, a fun, character-driven piece set in the world of roller derby, written by Shauna Cross, a former player who adapted the screenplay from her novel Derby Girl. The film follows the story of Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page), a 17-year-old who spends time with her mother (Marcia Gay Harden) and little sister on the Texas pageantry circuit, but longs for something more. When she happens upon the world of roller derby, she discovers not only a passion and talent for the sport, but also a newfound voice, empowerment, and sense of belonging--all while rocking the derby moniker "Babe Ruthless."

The fantastic ensemble also includes Daniel Stern as Bliss' football fanatic father; Alia Shawkat as her friend and fellow waitress at an amusingly pork-themed diner; Juliette Lewis as rival derby girl Iron Maven; Kristen Wiig as cool maternal surrogate Maggie Mayhem; Jimmy Fallon as announcer "Hot Tub" Johnny Rocket; Andrew Wilson as derby coach Razor; singer Landon Pigg in his acting debut as Bliss' romantic interest Oliver; and Eve and Zoe Bell as teammates Rosa Sparks and Bloody Holly, respectively. Fans of real life players Iron Maiven and Krissy Krash, both of the LA Derby Dolls' Tough Cookies, will also spot the kickass duo in a cameo as "The Manson Sisters."

In this interview, Eve talks about her experience of working on Whip It and the new direction of her career as a musical performer.

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MEDIA: Did you have any experience skating before working on this movie?

EVE: I did. I skated all throughout childhood, until I was 12...So to get back on skates at 30...A little scary. But amazing. I was so happy I did it.

Did you sustain any injuries while filming?

Yeah, bruises. My biggest thing was the track rash. My ankle swelled up. That was the worst thing. But honestly, it was like...ACE bandage, kept skating, a little Tiger Balm, a little Epsom salt bath.

Was it weird to have Drew playing one of the derby girls alongside you even while she was directing?

It was kind of cool. Because there were times she was fully dressed as Smashley Simpson with skates and everything, behind the camera, and then she'd roll out. It was cool.

How did you get involved with this film?

I was asked by my agent at the time, "Hey, there's this movie that Drew Barrymore's doing. Could she call you to tell you about it?" And I was like, "Can she call me? What are you talking about? Of course!" [laughs] And at that time, I didn't know if I had the part. I didn't know if it was a thing that she was doing that she was calling people. So I wasn't sure. I was just like, "Oh, I hope she's calling to be like, 'You have the part.' And if not, I will audition." Like it didn't matter. But then when she called me and told me about it and I got the script, I was like, "Oh my God, I'm so honored to be involved and asked." It was great.

Did you ever second guess yourself about taking the role once you were out there on skates falling down?

[laughs] I gotta say, even when I took it, I was like, "There's no way they're going to have actresses skating and hurting themselves." There's the insurance [issue]. I really was like, "We're going to have doubles." I get there, I'm like, "Oh, really? Skate camp, three weeks? I can't do it..." That first week, you hurt so bad that I was like, "What was I thinking? Who are you?" But once you get past that, you feel so amazing that you went through the hurt, that you learned how to skate, that you have the form. Honestly, you feel proud of yourself. I was proud of myself after.

What kind of environment did Drew create on the set as director?

Acting is still very new to me, and so I get very nervous. I'm like, "Oh my goodness, it's my turn!" But I have to say Drew made it so comfortable--she made it so comfortable for everybody. And I mean, obviously, being in a movie with Drew Barrymore...It's a lot. "It's Drew Barrymore!" And I haven't spent that much time on a set and acting. But she didn't make you feel, in any way, like you did something wrong. Even if it wasn't her exact choice of something, it was okay.

Music is an important part of the movie, but you're missing from the soundtrack. Did you want to write a song for it?

I've got three! [laughs] But I have to say, everything that's there is perfect, honestly. Like, of course, would I have wanted to do something? I think so. But I think that's not something that was talked about. I think because of the genre of music that I'm known for...Even in the circles of Drew, they know me for a certain thing. So I don't think that it was even thought about.

Where does your music career currently stand?

Well, I am a free agent, which I'm obsessively happy about. Stoked. And I have a song out in the UK now called "Me N My," which is this underground movement called dubstep that they're doing over there. And so I decided to experiment with that. It's actually taken off really well, so I'm going to go overseas in a couple months and just do a club tour. Like I haven't been able to do that and really get back in clubs. Like I love feeling people. So I'm able to do that, I'm able to make the kind of music I want to make. Hopefully, I'll have some stuff here [in the US] by the end of the year, but I'm just happy I can make the kind of music I want. It's like I'm newly divorced.

How important has music been to your career as an actor?

Music is everything for me. Like without music, I wouldn't have this movie, honestly. I know that's a big, long way to come around, but honestly, that was my--and is my--visibility. And even though I do have credibility in some areas of being in movies, I haven't been in that many that somebody naturally just thinks of me for a part. And I think when it comes to something like this, I kind of fit--I'm music, I'm edgy. So it fits. But for a romantic comedy or something like that, I might not get thought about. But as long as my music is out there and I'm visible, my name might come across. So it feeds everything.

At this point, do you want to put more focus on your music or your acting?

I would like, right now, for my music to be my front burner on the stove for a little while, for a few months. My grown-up life is going to be production--I want to be a producer. But I would love to continue acting. I want to write. I want to do so many things. So we'll see what happens...I have a production company. I just recently signed a development deal with RDF. It's a reality show development company, and we're going to develop a show. So... [coyly] I'm gettin' there. I'm growin' up.

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