Entertainment behind the scenes
Drew Barrymore’s Roller Derby girls “Whip It”. Whip it good
(reporting and writing by Jennifer Kwan)
Ladies, want your brand of “Fight club” — a movie that lets you dress up and get tough, too? Try roller derby — “Whip It” style.
Ahead of the “Whip it” debut Sunday night at the Toronto International Film Festival, fierce babes on roller skates were out in force at a downtown event, circling the skating rink in tutus, fish nets, tatoos and a lot of sass to spotlight Drew Barrymore’s film directing debut, which is due to hit the big screen on Oct. 2.
The movie stars Barrymore, playing Derby queen Smashley Simpson, “Juno” star Ellen Page as Babe Ruthless, Kristen Wiig as Maggie Mayhem and Juliette Lewis portrays the rockin’ Iron Maven. The movie puts on the mainstream map the contact sport that lets ladies feel empowered to look hot and kick butt, said Derby goddess Axles of Evil, who rolls for the Los Angeles Derby Dolls and was rinkside on Sunday in Toronto.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re tall or short or 300 pounds, or 90 pounds. It’s an opportunity to be sexy and strong at the same time,” said the 5-foot 2-inch Axles, who helped train the cast of “Whip it.” “You get to beat people up with no regrets. It’s awesome.”
But more important than letting off some steam is the sense of sisterhood one feels by becoming a derby girl, say the skaters.
“Roller Derby is meant for all women, all shapes, all sizes,” said Val Capone, who weighs 200 pounds and is so intense about the sport she had the name Capone tattooed on the inside of her lip. (Check it out in the video below.) “To see Barrymore raise the profile of the sport — and train hard to get it right — is awesome,” she said.