Drew Barrymore says studio made her tone down “Never Been Kissed” look: 'Too unattractive'

The talk show host adds she was "so scared during the whole film" because of the pressure of being a first-time movie producer.

Drew Barrymore's Never Been Kissed character Josie almost looked very different.

Barrymore dropped the fun bit of trivia during an upcoming appearance on David Lascher and Christine Taylor's podcast, Hey Dude the 90s Called, telling them the version we see in the rom-com is very "toned down" from her original vision of the character.

"I would get these calls from the studio, and they were like, 'I'm sorry, but you're just looking too unattractive,'" she recalled. In the film, Josie is a young woman and copy editor — who has never had a real relationship and was considered a "geek" growing up — who gets assigned to report undercover at a high school.

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

As such, Barrymore said she felt that the character's initial look was on point and initially disliked the idea of changing it, but, the studio told her "it's too far."

"I was forced to even tone it down a little bit because I had gone even farther, and then they said something that appealed to my sensibilities rather than my ego," she added. "They were like, 'We don't want you to lose the heart because you're going so far for the comedy,' and I was like, 'Great argument. Let me dial it back a little bit.' So Josie, what you see there, is me dialed back."

The 1999 film was the first to be produced under Barrymore's banner Flower Films, and she said she felt the pressure of making it. "At that time, people were very wary of actors being producers. A lot of it wasn't necessarily working and it didn't mean because you're an actor, you knew how to produce a film, and it was about the economics," she said. "So if you didn't make the film work and you produced it as an actor, you were likely to not be able to do it again, and I was very stressed throughout the movie."

She continued, "I don't think I've ever told anybody this. This is the first time I've ever admitted this: I was so scared during the whole film because I knew if it didn't work, we weren't going to get another chance."

Naturally, everything worked out and it ended up being an iconic role of the star's, and Flower Films has gone on to produce many movies since. Said Barrymore, "It came out and it worked and we got really lucky. And I'm very, very grateful and I would walk around just going I can't believe this worked."

The full episode of Hey Dude the '90s Called with Barrymore drops Friday.

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