February 06, 2004 01:48 PM

If you want to find Drew Barrymore these days, just look for the girl doing the “happy dance.” With a new movie, a good love (rocker Fabrizio Moretti of the Strokes) and a dual career (actress and producer), Barrymore, who turns 29 this month, has a lot to celebrate. In her new romantic comedy, 50 First Dates (opening Feb. 13), the actress reteams with her Wedding Singer costar Adam Sandler and plays a woman with short-term memory loss. Sandler is the unlucky guy who must continually win her over.

Barrymore recently talked to reporters about the good life – and unlike her First Dates character, she thankfully has no problem remembering it.

It seems that you and Adam Sandler have become this generation’s Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.
Did you see my peacock feathers extend when you said that? I love hearing that. I love (Adam) so much, and he really is such a wonderful person. He has not a mean bone in his body. When I’m working with him, it’s so genuine.

How did the chemistry develop between you two?
Well, we just got to know each other. We’re older now, and we’ve known each other for a long time and we’ve remained friends. So, I think that that only helped us to do these characters who are in different places, who are different people who are at different times in their lives because I know that we didn’t want to just repeat The Wedding Singer.

Now 1998’s The Wedding Singer is being made into a Broadway musical. What’s your take on that?
I just heard about that yesterday. I guess that’s good. I, personally, am very confused with musicals. Anyone who’s breaking into song and dance somehow confuses me slightly, but that’s me.

Your 50 First Dates character, Lucy, is always really happy despite suffering from short-term memory loss. What puts a smile on Drew’s face?
I’m a happy person by nature and I do the happy dance a lot. I was thinking the other day that you should really never lose enthusiasm when you’re going on a date with someone that you’re in love with. Two years later, I’ve been with my boyfriend (Fabrizio Moretti), and I still like to get ready by myself. I like to put on music and dance in my underwear and put makeup on and get excited to go.

But you weren’t always known for being happy-go-lucky. How’d you bounce back?
I have no cynicism whatsoever. I just think that everything is a gift and it’s beautiful. I’m definitely not just like a lollipop, happy to be blowing wind, by the way. I’m human just like everyone else, but I think that it would be a tragic way to be on your deathbed and be thinking, “I could’ve, I should’ve.”

What is romantic to you?
The most romantic thing you can do is be a consistent person because it’s really hard when you’re dealing with someone and you don’t know what you’re going to get every day. I think that’s a tough way to live. So, if you can be a little more consistent, that’s really nice.

Hawaii’s a place with a lot of romance. Whose idea was it to shoot First Dates there?
It was Adam’s idea, thank God, because the film originally took place in Seattle. Adam and I, and my partner (Nancy Juvonen of Flower Films) and all his team had come here on vacation after The Wedding Singer, and we just sort of felt like this place was associated with our friendship. (Hawaii) really became a character and a backdrop for the whole film.

Did you surf at all?
I did, a couple of times, and I was proud because I totally stood up on my first time, and the second or third time, one of (the crew) took pictures, and I’ve never hunted a human being down more. I was like, “I need the negative, I need the copy,” and finally, they ended up blowing it up for me as a joke.

If you go to Hawaii for work, then what’s left for vacation?
I like anywhere tropical. I’m really drawn to, like, sunshine and a Corona and the beach and just greasy hair because you’re so oiled up. I don’t know. Anywhere that you can get oiled up is a good thing.

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