High school teachers have a few lessons for Ms. Barrymore

This June, Drew Barrymore will begin filming “Never Been Kissed,” in which she’ll portray a newspaper reporter who goes undercover as a high school student. To save Barrymore (whose adolescence was anything but average) the trouble of researching today’s typical teen, EW Online surveyed high school teachers from Atlanta to Topsfield, Mass. Here are the lessons they had to offer the 23-year-old actress on becoming too cool for high school:

Wipe that smile off your face. “Drew is just too damn sunny,” says Andrea Sarvady, a former high school teacher now on the board of directors of an Atlanta youth development agency. “She always looks too lit up, whether it’s from inner happiness or good lighting, and that’s inappropriate for a high school hallway. She has an eagerness and affability that must be squelched or she’ll never be let in through the metal detectors at the school’s front door.”

Talk, like, like…whatever. No matter how short a line of dialogue is, add a half-dozen “like”s. “I have the cream of the crop of students in one of my classes, and they say ‘like’ every other word,” says Georgia Scurletis, a teacher at Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn. “I ask them to answer again without the word ‘like’ and they can’t.” Another tip: Slow things down. “Drew speaks at a peppy clip,” says Sarvady. “She’d want to change that to a barely audible drone, as if a mumble is putting too much energy into her speaking.”

Don’t let the director boss you around. To stay in character, it’s necessary to ignore authority figures. “You can’t tell high school girls anything they don’t already know, or haven’t read in a magazine somewhere,” says Bob Cleary, who teaches math at Masconomet Regional High School in Topsfield, Massachusetts. “They know all the coolest things, and you’re a dork for trying to tell them anything different.”

Just act like yourself — but with a complex. “An awful lot of high school kids are already emulating Drew Barrymore, except they have more insecurity,” says Cleary. “She would fit in high school well. She’s what everyone’s trying to be.”

Never Been Kissed
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