'Princess Power': Drew Barrymore, Savannah Guthrie modernize the definition of a princess
"Savannah talks about embracing princesses, but they can also wear pants and do things, and to me, it was just a revelation," Drew Barrymore says
Drew Barrymore and Savannah Guthrie are redefining the outdated princess trope with the animated Netflix series Princess Power.
Based on Guthrie's best-selling children's book "Princesses Wear Pants," the first of two books she co-authored with Allison Oppenheim, Princess Power follows the princesses of four Fruitdoms, Kira Kiwi (Dana Heath), Beatrice “Bea” Blueberry (Madison Calderon), Rita Raspberry (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) and Penelope “Penny” Pineapple (Luna Bella Zamora). In each 15-minute episode, all the princesses have to work together to help all the Fruitizens and make this world a better place.
"The animation is beautiful, the writing is clever and cute," Guthrie told Yahoo Canada. "It's colourful in every sense of that word and inclusive, and I love that idea."
"That was always the idea. Just be who you are, but be a real person, be a doer, be a good person, be a kind hearted person. What's exterior is really beside the point, but have your fun."
'It was just a revelation'
While Guthrie and Barrymore became friends long before this project, the actor and host of The Drew Barrymore Show said her "entry point" into wanting to be part of turning this story into a series was just, simply, the title of the book itself.
“I just got some messaging somewhere along the line, through characters or people, that even as a girl, I could do things, and I have the same amount of insecurities or confidence issues or questioning of myself," Barrymore said. "But if people or characters make you believe that you can, it's this empowerment that is irreplaceable.”
“I also loved the tone of the title, the tone of the books, that it was about being capable and fun and cool. Savannah talks about embracing princesses, but they can also wear pants and do things, and to me, it was just a revelation.”
With Guthrie and Barrymore behind-the-scenes, the cast of Princess Power is also incredibly star-studded, including Rita Moreno voicing Great Aunt Bussyboots, and Tan France and Andrew Rannells as Sir Benedict and his husband King Barton.
“Not to be dramatic, but it would have been life-changing,” France told TODAY.com. “I would have realized there are other people like me out there in the world — and there is a future for me.”
“It’s important for kids to see that families all look different. It’s not always a mom and dad ... I want my own child to watch this and realize (our situation) is completely normal.”
'I don't think there's anything you can't do'
Even if you're not a child, Princess Power's sweetness and quite clever writing is generally endearing, with some catchy music as well. Ultimately, the story is filled with wish fulfillment and fantasy, as much as it provides these invaluable lessons of girl power, friendship and team work. As Barrymore highlights, the book was written as a "love letter" to Guthrie's daughter.
"It's so much about your life and your family," Barrymore said to Guthrie.
"I don't think there's anything you can't do, or don't do, and then knowing you, what kind of person you are, I think this show is, like the books, it's you. You go out there every day and embody so many different tones, so many different capacities. That's, I think, what made me always believe in it.”
For Guthrie, she stressed the story's emphasis on women working together, something she and Barrymore exemplify in their real life.
“We have certain strengths and certain challenges but if we get together, we care about each other and we cooperate, there's nothing we can't do," Guthrie said. "I love that, that's the spirit of the show and I love that on this meta level, that's what this partnership is about."
"We're behind-the-scenes, I think living out what we're trying to put out there as a message, which is, we are stronger together.”