Home Fries Interviews

Ealasaid/ November 20, 1998/ Movie Reviews and Features

Originally written for The Occidental.

Home Fries, a delightfully off-kilter romantic comedy, opens Thanksgiving weekend. See what some of the stars have to say about the film and themselves…

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore, who takes on the lead role of Sally in Home Fries, is remembered for everything from her role in E.T. to her turbulent adolescence. Barrymore said she is drawn to people like Sally in real life, because “she’s so optimistic, and I just love that. It’s so refreshing…” But playing a character who is eight months pregnant wasn’t easy. Not only did she have to constantly remember to use the right body language (“The thing I did every day and never forgot to do was to constantly stick my butt out and walk with my legs apart.”) but she also had to wear a particularly uncomfortable strap-on belly. Still, she said she always remembered, “when you’re really pregnant, you don’t get to take that off at night. As uncomfortable as it was, I knew I had it good.”

In one of those odd cases of art meeting life, Barrymore became romantically involved with Luke Wilson, who plays her romantic interest in Home Fries, shortly before the film went into production. When asked about working with her boyfriend, she said, “it was great! Although, on the set we’re total professionals. I don’t even think you’d know we were boyfriend-girlfriend. Because we’re there to do a job, we’re basically employees, and happy to be doing … You want to do a good job, and that’s the first priority, not your relationship.”

Barrymore said she likes acting in part because it gives her a break from her constant awareness of the environment and others. “You get to go into a film and wear leather and murder people, it’s really interesting, it’s such a break from the norm. It’s fun that I get to go and express myself in those different ways, which I think gives me all the more energy to take those breaks… I feel like my greatest days or the days when I’m happiest in life is when I’m doing philanthropic work.”

Luke Wilson

With Telling Lies in America and Bottle Rocket under his belt, Luke Wilson plays the hero of Home Fries, Dorian Montier. He sums his character up easily, “I definitely think of Dorian as one of those characters that’s kind of a reactor, he’s not exactly driving the action, he’s an ordinary guy that gets put in these extraordinary circumstances.”

When asked about his relationship with Drew Barrymore, he said their relationship wasn’t a problem on the set: “as long as you’re getting along, it’s nice to work with someone you know well.”

One particularly memorable scene in the film includes Dorian dressed up in the mascot of the burger joint he works at — a giant robot named “Buzz.” Wilson said, “putting on the Buzz Burgermatic (costume) was one of those things where I read it in the script, and I thought, ‘wow, I wonder what this’ll look like?’ Then I got it and I thought, well, that’s certainly not very cool looking … I said to Dean (Parijot) the director, ‘is this a little too much, you think? I know this is a comedy, but we don’t want to go over the top here, let’s leave my character with a shred of dignity.’ He was like, ‘no, no Luke, put it on.’ I was just a hired hand, so I put it on…”

Fans of “The X-Files” may remember Wilson as Sheriff Hartwell in the episode “Bad Blood” from last season. Wilson said of the experience, “I had a great time.”

Jake Busey

You may remember Jake Busey from Starship Troopers, or Contact. Like the people he plays in those films, his character in Home Fries, Angus, is a bit on the crazy side. When it is pointed out to him that he is usually remembered for the scary people he plays, Busey said he mostly enjoys getting to play a wide variety of characters, and “I think it just so happens that of the movies that…have been seen by a wide number of folks, it just so happens those are the roles where I’ve been a crazy guy.” He doesn’t see his character in Home Fries as a psycho: “I never judged Angus in Home Fries as being a guy who was crazy, I just felt that he was suffering from confusion and a little anxiety … He was trying to please his mom and just didn’t know that what he was doing was a bad thing.” He added, “I suppose Joseph, the religious guy in Contact, is a different story entirely.”

Although Busey plays the more assertive of the two brothers in the film, he is an only child. Fortunately, Wilson has siblings: “Luke was a great… bastion of assistance.” Wilson told him stories about his own childhood, and as the two actors spent time together they gradually became good friends: “Luke and I wound up spending a lot of time together…after work we would hang out in the hotel lounge, run our scenes in the corner, hoping no one would see us…”

Making Home Fries was a pleasure for Busey: “It was an experience I would do over again in a heartbeat.” On the opposite end of the spectrum are the action films Busey has done recently. He said, “there was a big budget giant action film I did that has come out and gone, where … I walked off the set one day and had a big riff with the director. That’s not something I tend to do. It was being put under severe stress, and being shot in the face with live blanks – with a flame that was three inches long coming out the end of a gun barrel that was right next to my head. That was extremely disconcerting.”

When asked in closing if he had a master plan, Busey said, “yes there’s a master plan. I am going to take over the world!” After a good laugh, he grew serious: “I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing because I really enjoy it.”

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