Drew Barrymore falls for an obsessive sports fan in the new film: THE PERFECT CATCH. She brings humor, humanity and a fresh sophistication to her role in the delightful romantic comedy from acclaimed directors, The Farrelly Brothers.

What does a girl do when she discovers that she has fallen head over heels in love with a guy who appears to be more devoted to his favorite sports team than he is to her? It’s a question that women everywhere, often face, and it is one that confronts Drew Barrymore in her role in THE PERFECT CATCH. The actress shines in the film, displaying a fresh sophistication and depth. In fact, watching her light up the screen as the ambitious career woman, Lindsey Meeks in this charming romantic comedy, it is hard to believe that the actress/producer, who has been famous since she was a little girl, is now 30 years old.

In THE PERFECT CATCH, her character embarks on a relationship with Ben Wrightman, a school teacher, played by Jimmy Fallon. (Fallon made his name in the States on the iconic American TV show, Saturday Night Live.) Everything seems perfect until it becomes crystal clear that Ben has an Achilles heel – he is a fanatical fan of the famous American baseball team, The Boston Red Sox. He lives and breathes the sport.

The film is based on a novel by Nick Hornby and the original setting for the fiction was soccer. But this is not essentially a sports film. Its appeal lies in the fact that it is a heartwarming, realistic and funny film – with baseball as the backdrop. At the same time however, it is impossible not to get caught up in the excitement of the game as we watch on the edge of our seats, to find out whether the Red Sox will break their long running losing streak and finally win the all-important World Series. Some of the scenes were filmed during live games, adding extra drama and tension.

Couples everywhere can relate to Drew and Jimmy’s characters, Lindsey and Ben. Ben cannot help himself: he is a die-hard fan. While she appreciates his excitement, Lindsey doesn’t want to lose herself in her boyfriend’s life and struggles to maintain her relationship, without sacrificing her own interests. What makes the film so moving is the appeal of the two stars. Fallon is believable as the guy torn between two loves: his girlfriend and his team. Barrymore is sparkling and funny as usual.

Directed by the Farrelly Brothers who are best known for THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, the film is as funny as you would expect. But the directors’ trademark broad comedy is tempered this time; it is gentler and more subtle. There are as many tender moments as there are loud laughs.

Barrymore’s company Flower Films co-produced the film, and she was involved in every stage of the production, from casting to costumes. She has made a variety of movies with her company, including the huge hit CHARLIE’S ANGELS in 2000 and the sequel, CHARLIE’S ANGELS FULL THROTTLE. Movie lovers who have been following the path of this talented actress are familiar with her career and life story. Born into the famous Barrymore acting dynasty, she became famous herself at age six, when she starred in Steven Spielberg’s 1982 blockbuster, E.T.THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL. Her performance as Gertie won her worldwide acclaim.

She continued to act throughout her teens, despite an unsettled childhood. And she went on to display her formidable talent as an adult actress. Her roles include Woody Allen’s film, EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU, THE WEDDING SINGER, NEVER BEEN KISSED and EVER AFTER. She also appeared in George Clooney’s CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND and recently starred in 50 FIRST DATES with Adam Sandler. Barrymore is set to play a struggling Las Vegas singer in her next project LUCKY YOU with Eric Bana. Curtis Hanson is directing the film.

The actress is dating musician Fabrizio Moretti, the drummer with the rock band The Strokes. She lives in Los Angeles and has three dogs. When we meet to discuss THE PERFECT CATCH, she is looking pretty and natural, without a trace of makeup. Dressed in jeans, a t-shirt and black cardigan, her reddish brown hair is loose around her shoulders. She is warm and friendly, full of enthusiasm about the film and life in general.

Q: What appealed to you about this film?
Barrymore: “What really drew me to the film is that it is first and foremost a love story. If you remove the baseball component completely, it is a story about how much you have to change and compromise in order to have a successful, happy relationship. It is about finding the balance and allowing the other person to be himself or herself.”

Q: What was different and exciting about this film?
Barrymore: “I love exploring romantic comedies, but I find I want to learn something from each experience, through the characters I play and the subject of the films. I really loved this one because it taught me a lot and let me explore the concept of how much of yourself you give away to your partner in a relationship. My character and Ben fall in love with each other’s passions and little idiosyncrasies, those traits and quirks that everyone possesses. Then somewhere along the line, those passions can cause problems. They can start to annoy us and get in the way. And I think in the end it is important not to water down or change the other person, but accept them for who they are. I really love that message in the film”.

Q: Would you ever date a sports fan?
Barrymore: “Yes. Sport is a relatively harmless thing to be obsessed with. Until I made this film I did not realize that sports obsession is a real epidemic though – not just in America. If you read the Nick Hornby novel, people from England for instance and of course in other countries throughout Europe and the world, are crazy about soccer. So this story relates to everyone. In any relationship you have to make the other person a priority, so that they feel like they are number one, however much they love their sport.”

Q: Have you managed to keep a balance in your own relationship?
Barrymore: “I think so. I am a workaholic, so I know that my schedule is tough, I work 17 hours a day and I am traveling all the time and there is no routine in my job. So I like a partner who is open and encouraging about what I do, then I totally empathize with him. I ‘m so passionate about my work, I love my job. But I do have someone who is supportive and understanding and of course that makes me feel so good and empowered. How could you not just want to return that respect? If you or the other person you are involved with chooses to have passions, let’s celebrate them rather than putting them down all the time. But yes, I am very happy in my relationship.”

Q: Were you interested in baseball before making this film?
Barrymore: “Not at all. I knew nothing about baseball. Then spending the summer at Fenway Park (the Red Sox Stadium) and being there at all their games, I began to understand the atmosphere and got swept up in it. I even ended up loving the die-hard fans and their eccentricities. And they started winning and I was so excited because we could show how they were changing their history.”

Q: You actually filmed at real games. Do you think it made it more authentic?
Barrymore: “Absolutely. I feel there’s a lot of authenticity because we really are there at the games, you know it and you feel it, it’s not CG (computer generated), it’s not fake.”

Q: The Farrelly brothers say this is a great role for you – like Jane Fonda moving from BARBARELLA to more substantial roles such as THE CHINA SYNDROME and KLUTE. Was THE PERFECT CATCH an important role for your career?
Barrymore: “Yes it was and that’s so exciting and so nice of them to say that. I just like this character because she is a cool girl and she is consistent. I like the fact that at some point she felt she was losing herself by getting too involved in Ben’s life and she said ‘you know what? I’ve just given myself up, my entire life has vanished, I need to maintain my friendships, and my health regime and my work, so I want to stay who I am and I want you to stay who you are and we’re going to find a way to make this work.’ I’m just inspired by that kind of person and that’s why I really wanted to play her. She is very strong.”

Q: Would you put up with obsessive behavior like Ben’s?
Barrymore: “I’m sure as any good therapist would say, if you are dealing with an obsessive boyfriend you have to ask yourself whether you are paying a price that is too high by staying in the relationship. But I also think that if you really love someone for who they are you have to accept them. I do believe that if both people want a successful relationship, they can achieve that.”

Q: Why was Jimmy Fallon the right person to play Ben?
Barrymore: “Well I love Jimmy and I’ve worked with him before and I thought he was great, so nice and easy to get on with, everyone likes him. Men think he’s funny and women think he’s just adorable. I think he will be popular everywhere. And from my own personal experience, working with him on this film was a real pleasure. He expresses the mature and romantic side of him. There are moving scenes where he’s really distraught and frustrated. Those are experiences or emotions he hadn’t explored until now. I knew he could do it and he pulled it off completely.”

Q: Why do you think you and Jimmy have such good chemistry?
Barrymore: “I admire him and adore him; we did not have to do a screen test. I can’t imagine having to work with someone and pretend to be in love with him, if I had no good feelings towards him. I just don’t even know how to fake that. Also Jimmy is very funny and I love working with funny men, I’m always intrigued by that.”

Q: What was it like working with the Farrelly Brothers?
Barrymore: “They’re very funny and they have the best sense of comedy. But I think that this film provides an opportunity for them to show their more serious and mature side as filmmakers. I think some of their films are among the best in the history of comedy, but they do something different in this film. Nan, (business partner) and I really wanted this script to be grounded in reality and it wasn’t ‘gross-out’ broad humor that they often do. We wanted it to be funny and we wanted it to be romantic. The Farrellys are from Boston where the film is set which was great. Also they understood the characters. I think they bring timelessness to the film with an old fashioned style of comedy and romance and yet they know how to keep up with the modern aspects too.”

Q: There is one memorable and hilarious scene in which you are sick – suffering from food poisoning and you actually vomit. It is a surprisingly sweet moment as well as being funny, was that your idea?
Barrymore: “Nan and I had a preconceived idea of how we wanted that scene to be shot and the Farrellys agreed with us that we would never see my character ‘throwing up’, being sick. And that’s exactly why it works. It takes place behind the door. You hear it, so it is funny and you feel it and Ben takes care of her, he cleans up after her. I think the little nuances make the scene work. For example he undresses her and says ‘I won’t look’ and then admits:‘OK I looked’. It’s sweet and funny and realistic and she gets to joke too, the tone is right.”

Q: Your character spends a lot of time on her cell phone. Do you spend hours chatting on the phone?
Barrymore: “Well I do call people, though I am not very good or reliable about returning phone calls. Actually I am notoriously bad at calling people back. But when it comes to work it is different. I am aggressive about following through on everything, because I am not the type of person who just sits back and hopes for the best. I think you have to be active and make things happen. So I am very diligent in my professional life and I do try to maintain my friendships as best as possible. But I admit that I am also a little bit flighty and I daydream and sometimes I go off into my own world.”

Q: Are you thinking about marriage and starting a family? Or is your career still your top priority?
Barrymore: “I am happy in my relationship but I’m not ready to have a family yet and I’m not ready get married. I am just enjoying life at the moment, I am having fun and working and spending time with my love. I am also spending time with my friends and I have created my own little family with my boyfriend and friends. I’d much rather try to build a family when I’m really ready, when I’m more selfless. Having a baby is not something I want to mess around with and just hope for the best, it is much too important. Raising children is always going to be so difficult and scary and challenging, I don’t think that I will ever feel prepared. All my fellow friends who are already mothers tell me that and I still think if I wait a little bit longer so I’ll be better suited for the job. The biological clock is not ticking yet, but I do want children.”

Q: Do you work out as obsessively as your character?
Barrymore: “No I wish I did though; but I try. I am really enjoying exercise right now, but I am going to eat the carbs that I enjoy, the pasta and bread, I refuse to give those up.“

Q: What is it like being 30?
Barrymore: ”It is the best time of my life, not traumatic at all. I do not think I have ever been happier. I think the older I get, the better I get. Gravity and wrinkles that come with ageing are fine with me. All that means nothing compared to the new wisdom inside my head and my heart. And if my breasts fall down to the floor and everything starts to sag and becomes hideous and gross, I will not worry. I will just stop appearing in front of the camera. That is fine with me because I love producing, so I will just go behind the camera. I am not worried about my physicality at all. But I appreciate everything happening to me at the moment. There was a time when I could not get a job so I have utter gratitude for every job I get.”

Q: What are your biggest concerns?
Barrymore: “I worry about how I can use this lifetime effectively to gain as much wisdom as possible and to celebrate my life. I have a lot to celebrate at the moment.”

Q: You mentioned working behind the camera – are you enjoying your role as a producer with your company?
Barrymore: “I love everything about being a producer. I enjoy the casting process and trying to balance a budget. I like hiring directors and being involved with rewriting scripts. I like it all – working with the production designer and wardrobe and deciding what the characters should be wearing. It is all fascinating. I love every detail of the process. I really want to take the reigns, I find it very empowering. And it is my absolute goal to direct films one day.”