By, Crystal A. Proxmire
(Sept. 15, 2009)
When stars come to town to make movies, it not only gives a spark to our local economies, it gives people throughout Michigan the hope that we can focus on new ways of putting ourselves to work. One bright star that has inspired the area is Drew Barrymore, an ultra-famous lifelong actress who decided that Michigan was the place to make her Directorial debut. Filmed in various cities, including Ferndale, Whip It is a fun and inspiring movie in its own right. But it is made even more so by the fact that many of the faces that will be seen by millions on the big screen are from right here in Ferndale, MI.
Barrymore came back to the Detroit Area to release Whip It to an audience of excited roller skaters at the BonaVenture Roller Rink in Farmington Hills on Septemer 11, 2009. This was her first reunion with many of the Michigan-based cast members. It was also Barrymore’s opportunity to stop on her red-carpet-style entrance and talk to The Ferndale One-Fifteen News about her experiences in our funky little hometown. In 2008 Barrymore shot on location at Mother Fletcher’s Vintage Clothing Store, and held base-camp at AJ’s Music Café. We asked Barrymore what she thought of Ferndale and if she was planning on coming back to do more movies here. “Ferndale was super groovy,” Barrymore said. Then she turned to Derby Girl Racer McChaser, who happens to be from Ferndale, and they laughed together over a difficult scene to shoot.
“Remember skating through that door like thirty some times,” McChaser said. “Over and over.”
After wrapping with reporters she went inside to a roller rink packed with screaming fans. Some of the fans had camped out overnight, like Katherine Cronk of Pontiac who had the first spot since 2:30 the afternoon before. Fourth in line was a familiar Ferndale face – Nicole Wrona, one of the talented spa treatment experts who works at Tantra Face and Body Spa at 23059 Woodward. Wrona arrived at 8pm the night before, but decided not to spend the night. The next morning she still had her spot, and brought breakfast to share with the diehard fans before her.
“It was cold and I was anxious so I couldn’t sleep,” said Cronk. “I hope I get to meet Drew. I”ve seen all her movies. She’s my favorite.” Cronk was joined by two devoted fans who came all the way to Chicago for a chance to see the star.
Once inside fans were given a sneak peek at the movie, which comes to area theaters October 2, 2009. There was also plenty of roller skating and time for fans to meet the star. Many of the Derby Girls were there too, to show off their moves and share stories of their filming experience.
Racer McChaser played Priness Slaya in the Whip It! Adaptation of competitive roller derby leagues. “I was surprised by how much roller derby went into it all together. They didn’t tell us much about the storyline, all we saw was the skating stuff,” McChaser said. “It was great to see how much we were in it. I can’t wait until I own the DVD and can pause it and say ‘that’s me,’ ‘that’s me.”
Off the red carpet McChaser is a tough and happy Ferndale gal named Amy Ruby who does both Derby Girls and speed skating for Skatin Station II. Other Ferndale skaters include Lauren Brick (aka Polly Fester), Christina Iulianelli (aka Tiny Ninja) and Genevieve Harrison-Zdenek (aka Sass Knuckles).
For the latest info on the film industry in Ferndale, please continue to check out www.ferndale115.com on the first and fifteenth of every month