C.J.: Mr. Barrymore, do tell us about Drew

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 8, 2014 - 5:00 PM

John Blyth Barrymore, member of the famous theatrical family, is scheduled to be in Minnesota this month to shoot the movie “Inheritance,” a psychological drama.

“It’s about a woman who leaves her abusive husband and takes her daughter back to her family’s Minnesota farm to start a new life,” said Bridget Cronin, executive producer of the film. “John Barrymore plays the abusive husband.”

That’s a step up for the former software developer, whose movie credits include “Hitchhiker Massacre.” With a twinkle in his eye, Barrymore told me, “Spoiler alert: I’m the massacre-er. ‘Inheritance’ is much more of a psychological, creepy horror movie. I only like really good ones like ‘The Shining’ and ‘The Hunger.’ [‘Inheritance’] has the potential to be [that kind].”

He was a cheerful fellow when we met Sunday, despite the limp caused by breaking his patella in two. He injured himself when he slipped on water in California, and he knows how ridiculous that sounds with all the icy patches in Minnesota. Barrymore, who was here for preproduction rehearsals, was thoroughly entertaining. He even wrote out the names of his legendary family members for me and clarified the identities of the numerous John Barrymores — including this Barrymore’s son.

“My son technically should have been the III. Unfortunately he’s Jr. on his birth certificate. My father, my son and myself are all Jr.” he said. “Only popes and kings get to be IVs, Vs, VIs, VIIs and VIIIs.

“When my son. at the age of 25, finally asked me Why did you name me John? I said, ‘Son, do you know what rolls downhill?’ I was sick of being John Jr. myself. I’ve never used the Jr. myself, I just go by John Blyth Barrymore, although people frequently call me John Barrymore III and I’ve been billed that way in movies.

“Drew was the name mom and dad had picked out for me. At the last second dad decided he didn’t want to be John Jr. anymore. That’s how I wound up with John instead of Drew as a first name. So they named me John Blyth Barrymore Jr. My sister later on became Drew.”

Although my Drew Barrymore inquiries came toward the end of our interview, I’m going to dive right into his insightful remarks about his most famous sibling.

Q: What is your favorite Drew Barrymore movie?

A: I haven’t seen a lot of her films but my favorite performance of hers is “Riding in Cars with Boys.” I really thought she nailed it.

Q: Now she is half-sibling?

A: Yes, as she would be the first to point out. [Laughs]

Q: Do you and Drew not get along?

A: It’s not that we don’t get along. She’s terrified of anybody she’s related to, not just me. We have two other siblings, two sisters — one of whom is rich, who will never have to ask her for a dime — and she’s terrified of them, too. I’m hoping now that she has a family of her own, things will change. I’m glad that she waited until she actually found a mensch to have kids with because this is, what, her fourth or fifth marriage? [Third, if Wikipedia can be trusted.] Whatever it is. She finally found somebody who has more money than she does — at least this time if doesn’t work out she’ll be getting the check rather than cutting the check — but more importantly, this guy seems to have, like, a real family. I’m glad she waited, even though it was late. Although Tom Green, who I met, is a very nice guy. The complete opposite of his TV persona. He’s quiet, shy, reserved, introverted.

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