My Name is Candy
Double lives, everyday secrets in Drew Barrymore romp
BY GARY M. KRAMER
The deft comedy “The
Stand In,” directed by out
lesbian fi lmmaker Jamie
Babbit, gives Drew Barrymore
a delicious double role, and
she plays both parts with gusto.
Candy Black (Barrymore) is an
actress known for making pratfall
comedies (think a female Adam
Sandler) and her signature line,
“Hit me where it hurts!” But after
an on-set meltdown, Candy becomes
a pariah and then a recluse,
holing up in her mansion making
Shaker furniture and having a virtual
relationship with Steve (Michael
Zegen), a man she has never
When Candy is required to go
to rehab, she has her agent Louis
(T.J. Miller) contact her former
stand in, Paula (Barrymore), to go
in her place. Yeah, it’s probably illegal,
but Paula agrees on the condition
that Candy will again take
fi lm roles so Paula can get her old
job back. Of course, Candy’s growing
interest in Steve prompts her to
renege on that deal, which forces
Paula to steal Candy’s spotlight —
along with that virtual boyfriend of
Babbit nimbly mines humor as
all the main characters fi nd themselves
in situations that reveal a
secret life and a true identity. The
fi lmmaker — fresh off her debut
fi lm, “But I’m a Cheerleader,” getting
a 20th anniversary director’s
cut release — chatted about “The
Stand In” in a recent interview.
GARY M. KRAMER: “The Stand
In,” like “But I’m a Cheerleader,” is
about fi nding your true identity.
Can you talk about this theme of
identity and reinvention, which is
integral to all of your fi lms?
JAMIE BABBIT:I defi nitely
think that part of my artistic infl
uences and my reason for being a
fi lmmaker is my love for diving into
a different world emotionally. I live
more in my head than in reality, so
I try on new identities to help actors
and make shot decisions from
the point of view of the characters.
Drew Barrymore in Jamie Babbit’s “The Stand In,” which begins streaming on December 11.
One way I’m able to tell each story
is that I climb inside each character.
In “Cheerleader,” the characters
are told to be one way, but
they reinvent themselves as who
they are, not as society tell them to
be. I relate to both of Drew’s characters
in “The Stand In,” who have
valid, interesting ways of looking at
KRAMER: On that same topic,
can you address the idea of passing?
In “The Stand In,” all the major
characters are living some kind
of double life, which is a good metaphor
for closeted people.
BABBIT: Maybe only a queer
person would be interested in telling
this story of characters living
in different realities. My favorite
scene is when Louis says he is also
a totally different character. And I
do think that everyone lives a double
life and creates who they want
KRAMER: You made a fi lm
about fi lmmaking, starring an
actress, who had addiction problems
in real life, playing an actress
who must go to rehab. She gets a
comeback. Her director is a female
fi lmmaker who is played a lesbian
actress. You’ve completely blurred
the lines here. What are your intentions?
BABBIT: To have Holland Taylor
play me is incredible, and Drew
playing herself is amazing. Clearly
there are many versions of Drew’s
stand ins that are like the real
Drew — different versions of herself.
I feel all the unpacking was
conscious, but some was unconscious
— and I leaned into that.
KRAMER: Drew gives two
amazing performances here. I love
how unfi ltered she is as Candy.
How did you work with her on the
BABBIT: What was fun was the
Paula character is the furthest from
who Drew was because she was famous
for so long. So being desperate
for a job and wanting people to
love and adore her — which is what
the stand in character wants — is
far from Drew’s life. We put a prosthetic
nose on her, and she has
that famous family profi le.
We walked around Times Square
with Drew in her Paula outfi t, and
a man approached her to ask her to
take a picture with Michael Zegen.
He was so pleased to meet someone
famous from “Mrs. Maisel.”
Little did he know he had given his
camera to Drew! It was good to let
her experience that anonymous
feeling. We took her to an open call
for auditions and that was a new
experience for her. It helped her infuse
Paula. As for letting loose as
Candy, Drew was channeling all
of her many, many years of rage at
being hounded by paparazzi and
judged in the daily news.
KRAMER: The fi lm certainly
mocks the celebrity age we live
in. What observations to you have
about our current cultural climate?
BABBIT: One monologue in the
fi lm was inspired by a woman who
said she was on a plane when a
video of her went viral and when
she landed, her life had completely
changed. A stupid decision caught
on camera, and life as you know it
is over. Celebrity culture is worse
than ever, and people are adored
and trapped by millions, with everyone
having a camera they can
record. An autograph is less invasive.
It’s a glass cage for celebrities,
and I have sympathy for them.
Celebrity is sold as something you
want, but it can be very destructive.
KRAMER: If you had a double
who could allow you to do what
you wanted, what would that be?
BABBIT: I have dreams of living
a quiet life in a cabin and having
creative pursuits, like handcrafting,
knitting, making furniture.
That fi lm “The Social Dilemma”
highlights the destructive nature
of technology that siphons us into
tunnels so that we stop talking to
each other and understanding how
people think. We have to express
our creativity and talk to people.
THE STAND IN | Directed by Jamie
Babbit | Saban Films | Available
for streaming Dec. 11
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