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Into The Rink: The Derby Girls
When Bliss Cavendar slips away to Austin to see her first roller derby, it's love at first sight, especially when she meets our hero team – the Hurl Scouts, each one a rough-and-tumble misfit, yet all of them sexy, savvy and seemingly living their offbeat lives to the hilt. Before the skating even begins, Bliss knows she's found a world that's for her.

Casting the vivacious Hurl Scouts, and their equally hardnosed competitors, was a challenging and exciting task for Drew Barrymore, who hand-picked an ensemble of vibrant, funny actors – both veterans and newcomers -- who had a blast with their roles and took on the action with professionalism and enthusiasm.

First she cast Kristen Wiig ("Saturday Night Live”, KNOCKED UP) as Maggie Mayhem, the captain of the team who takes Bliss under her wing as a kind of no-holds-barred mentor. "Kristen is amazing and I believe will go down in history as one of our most important female comedians,” says Barrymore. "She is both current and timeless, and she perfectly embodies derby femininity. Usually, Kristen does these really broad comic characters but in fact, she's very collected and has a great carefree quality that I wanted to capture in the movie. There are some wonderful scenes between her and Ellen where she becomes a kind of big sister figure to Bliss. On top of that, she skated amazingly.”

Next, to play Iron Maven, Bliss's nemesis and the notorious captain of the Hurl Scouts' biggest rivals, The Holy Rollers, Barrymore cast Academy Award® nominee Juliette Lewis. Known for her incredible diversity, Lewis has worked with directors ranging from Martin Scorsese to Woody Allen but was thrilled to join Barrymore for her directing debut. "Juliette ate this role up,” says Barrymore. "As a director, I had so much fun working with her because she is game for anything. She is so self-possessed and a crowd pleaser and that's what Iron Maven is. But Iron Maven also has an undercurrent of a quiet longing that Juliette really understood.”

Lewis loved her character's ferociously competitive love-hate relationship with Bliss. "It's a classic case of youth versus experience,” says Lewis. "Iron Maven is nearing the end of her derby career and she's not about to let this young pup come in and take her throne. And yet, underlying that is the reality that Maven truly admires Bliss because of her youthful exuberance and the hunger she has.” She continues: "I'm not one for playing clichés. I like to do things pretty honest so I tried to give Iron Maven some complications and some humanity. Maven might be the classic bad guy in our tale but she's got a deep love and respect for her opponent.”

Lewis, too, became a huge fan of the fictional Bliss, which is a big part of what inspired her to throw herself into the project, bruises and all. "I think Bliss is in all of us,” Lewis summarizes. "She's the adolescence we all had, with that fire and yearning for something more. Then she steps into the roller-derby world and channels that rebellion and energy in such a positive way. For her, it's like running away and joining the circus. I think we'd all want to do it if we could.”

Meanwhile, as the cast grew, Barrymore herself took on the role of Hurl Scout's Smashley Simpson. "I selfishly wanted to play this character who is a bit of a dichotomy: half-hippie, half-chick- with-anger-issues. I kind of identify with that,” she laughs. "There is a part of me that is totally laid back and everything is great. Then there's a part of me that really enjoys action.”

Next in line was the multi-platinum Grammy® Award winning singer-actor Eve who was cast as Rosa Sparks. "Eve was perfect for this role,” says Barrymore "because she is also a woman who, on her own terms, in her own way, has made a beautiful success of herself. She is a cool, tough chick with

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