Six things we learned revisiting Riding In Cars With Boys (USA, 2002) in its new Blu-Ray release

Riding In Cars With Boys is a bittersweet drama/light comedy about one woman’s teenage pregnancy, married life to a drug addict and some other periods when things did not go according to her grand plan. It’s an adaptation of a memoir by Beverly D’Onofrio that was adapted for the screen by Morgan Ward. It’s also a film that sees Drew Barrymore playing the main character at the ages of 15 to 37 and some other points in between.

The film has recently been released on blu-ray for the first time and the edition includes a pile of behind-the-scenes features and commentary by Barrymore. We put together the top six things we learned from this release.

1. Barrymore was so committed to the role of Bev that she felt like she had to become her. To do this she created an “altar” for D’Onofrio made from Bev’s family photos. Barrymore also took a break from her own life for seven months and she didn’t consume any news, films or music made after the year 1987 during this time.

2. Music played a big part in this film. While Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” features in the movie, for Barrymore it was all about choosing a track to play repeatedly in order to prepare herself for a scene. She chose The Beatles’ “I Me Mine” before the scene where Bev has her scholarship interview. Led Zeppelin’s “Tangerine” also got a look-in as well as cuts from The Beatles’ Rarities album and The Rolling Stones’ Tattoo You.

3. Beverly D’Onofrio was a bookworm. As a child she put on Shakespearian plays in the basement and she would perform as all of the characters. To prepare for this role Barrymore says she read The Great Gatsby and Six Tales Of The Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald as well as books by Lord Tennyson and Mary Shelley because D’Onofrio had read all of these.

4. There are some parallels between Barrymore and D’Onofrio’s lives. As children, Barrymore wanted to be a writer and D’Onofrio an actress but actually Barrymore became the actress and D’Onofrio the writer. The pair had dysfunctional relationships with their parents. This culminated in D’Onofrio falling pregnant at 15 and Barrymore partying in Hollywood at the age of 11.

5. The film has episodes set in the sixties, seventies and eighties so the cars and costumes had to fit these different time periods. The costumes for Bev were based on Cybill Shepherd and how she aged in the public eye through these same points in time.

6. Director Penny Marshall (A League Of Their Own) originally turned down the job. She was eventually convinced to change her mind and she would come to see the potential of the film because she was also a teenager mum in real life.

Riding In Cars With Boys is now available on Special Edition Blu-Ray.