Drew Barrymore Recalls the Role That Changed Her Career and What ‘Princess Power’ Means to Her (Exclusive)

Drew Barrymore is reflecting back on her decades-long career, opening up about the defining moment that changed the trajectory of her life. The actress and host of The Drew Barrymore Show was promoting the Netflix kids animated series, Princess Power, in which she executive producers alongside friend and Today‘s Savannah Guthrie.

“The one thing that comes immediately to mind is this moment,” Barrymore told ET’s Rachel Smith at the Princess Power junket in New York City on Monday, when asked about empowering female moments. 

The 47-year-old said it was Guthrie’s two children’s books, Princesses Wear Pants and Princesses Save the World, that inspired her to turn it into a show. 

“Together we got to go into this new world that I didn’t know a thing about and so I feel like we’re modeling the whole spirit of the show, which is girls working together, cooperating, and getting things done,” Guthrie said.

“Yeah, and you do it together. I don’t understand my or I, those are words that even that one letter, I feel very awkward about saying it because you don’t do things in this world alone,” Barrymore said. “Savannah wrote these incredible books, both New York Times bestsellers… and seeing that as we’re reading the books to our kids… Her daughter inspired this and we’re talking about doing a show of it and I was like, ‘See, this is meant to be. People are having a connection with this type of story and if you just give a green light or some confidence or a you can do this or a symbol or a show or a character that makes you believe you can, it can change the trajectory of your life.'”

“I know creative things have done that for me in my life, not only when I was a kid but when I was in my early 20s. I did Ever After. I was like, ‘I don’t think I would be the same person without giving a spin on what we think a princess is supposed to be,'” Barrymore continued.

She added later that Ever After came to her during a formative period in her life.

“I was in my early 20s and then I was trying to start a company and wanted to tell stories and make films and that particular messaging that you can rescue yourself and you don’t have to wait to be rescued is definitely the thing that set me up best in my life,” Barrymore credited, “and I don’t know who I would be honestly without it. It changed the way I saw the world.”

“We just need to be told a change of narrative,” she continued. “That can change our lives. It happened to me and if any little girls or little boys are watching [Princess Power] and feel like they can, how amazing is that?”

Guthrie said that her “girl power moment” was Charlie’s Angels and praised Barrymore, calling her the definition of girl power. “She’s a true person, a true friend, and has cultivated this awesome posse of girls. It’s awesome and that is a testament,” she said. (Barrymore and Guthrie even got friendship tattoos together.)

“I’ve watched you being a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader for Halloween and then out on the plaza interviewing and being excited about a musician and then the next day interviewing a president,” Barrymore said of Guthrie. “And the next day will text when she has to travel somewhere to deliver the world the most difficult news and I’ll always be like, ‘Thank God that it’s you that has been put in this position to help heal people. I mean, that for me is sort of what it’s all about. We can be a lot of different things. Nobody wants to be cornered into being one thing. Savannah is the epitome of that.”

And Princess Power epitomizes all the values and lessons Barrymore and Guthrie hope to instill in their kids. The preschool series, according to Netflix, “is a celebration of girl power and self-expression that follows princesses of four major fruit kingdoms: Kira Kiwi, Beatrice ‘Bea’ Blueberry, Rita Raspberry and Penelope ‘Penny’ Pineapple. These princesses embrace their differences and become stronger together to help their fellow fruitizens and make their world a better place. Princess Power’s whimsical, aspirational joy comes with a timely message: that it’s not just what you wear but what you do that makes all the difference.” Rita Moreno, Queer Eye‘s Tan France, Andrew Rannells, Jenna Ushkowitz and Ciera Payton are special voice guest stars.

“I like things that are cool too. I want there to be a tenacity and coolness and then sense of humor that’s not heavy or take ourselves too seriously or be precious, like there’s a spirit that has to be there and the books have that spirit. Savannah has that spirit. I’m glad that the show does too, it’s everything,” Barrymore said. 

Guthrie agreed, saying Princess Power is “not a preachy show.” “It’s the message that’s important and I know as moms we look for content with values that align with what we would want in our kids to see. It’s gotta be a good show, it’s gotta be funny. This is funny, it’s colorful. The adventures are incredible. It’s witty, it’s cute,” she notes.

The 25th anniversary of Barrymore’s romantic comedy with Adam Sandler, The Wedding Singer, is fast approaching on Feb. 13, and Barrymore acknowledged she and Sandler are actively discussing potentially revisiting their characters, Julie and Robbie.

“You know what, I know. I feel it too. We’re talking about it,” she said when asked about a possible Wedding Singer reunion in the future.

“I think it’s time too. We’re looking. We’re definitely actively looking. [Adam] came on the show and I picked him up in the Drewber and we did talk about how we were like, ‘Oh it’s coming up on 10 years.’ We talked about some ideas and we’re definitely in. It’s percolating,” Barrymore teased.

As for the upcoming Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, both expressed excitement over the game but also for Rihanna’s anticipated halftime show.

“I cannot wait to see her, we’ve been missing her,” Guthrie said.

“We’ve been talking about it on the show on ‘Drew’s News.’ We’re always talking about Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime show, any new detail that comes out, we report on it,” Barrymore said, praising Rihanna as the “ultimate” representative of girl power: “She really is.”

Princess Power is streaming now on Netflix.

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