1. It’s Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut. When asked why she picked this project, Drew explained to Time Out New York : “I relate to a theme of it: women who have not only an alter ego but a capability. I love these women who totally have day jobs — they’re nurses and librarians and waitresses… What I love about the sport is that it’s real and high stakes. And by the way, it’s scary as shit to do. I wouldn’t have guessed that the first film I directed would have a sports element, but then again it doesn’t surprise me, because I love girls getting to do what boys do… I love when [women] get to be women and not feel like they have to become a man in order to play in a man’s world.”
2. It’s based on a memoir by Shauna Cross, a real derby girl who also penned the screenplay adaptation. When we interviewed Cross back in May, she had this to say about the sport: “During a game, with your adrenaline going, you truly want to destroy the other girls with your bare hands, but the second that final whistle blows, and it’s all over, it’s all make up and make out. You’ve never seen a tighter group of broads. It’s so much fun.”
3. It’s nice to see Ellen Page play something other than the cautionary whale or a scary teen Republican. Drew had this to say in a Marie Claire interview about her leading lady: “She was in her frickin’ bra and with an open jacket and hot-pink shorts, skating around the rink with red lips and… and she was sexy as a mother…. a feral creature. It was great.” And then they kissed.
4. There’s another Wilson brother, Andrew, and he plays the derby girls’ coach. He’s the oldest of the three, and has had bit parts in Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums. We had no idea he existed before now. He is like the best of both bros.
5. Daniel Stern, otherwise known as the robber who wasn’t Joe Pesci in Home Alone, plays Ellen Page’s dad. We’re not entirely sure that we believe that he could land a babe like Marcia Gay Harden, but he’s rather endearing in this beaten down dad role.
6. Kristen Wiig is hilarious — especially when giving an awkward monologue about getting crabs from an ex. For once she’s given a character to play who isn’t such a character. (She was fantastic in Adventureland, but it felt like something we’d see her play on SNL.) Team captain Maggie Mayhem has more layers (and an adorable red-headed son), which is nice.
7. Drew puts an interesting twist on the obligatory pool makeout scene. Ellen Page’s character and her rock ‘n roll boy toy hop into the pool with their clothes on and then they strip down. It’s rather amusing watching her try to wriggle out of tights underwater. Not that anything can ever trump this:
Whip It opens in theaters nationwide today; view the trailer here.