Drew Barrymore and Savannah Guthrie redefine the outdated princess trope with the Netflix animated series princess power.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 Four Fruitdoms princesses 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 sweet,” Guthrie said Yahoo Canada. “It’s colorful and inclusive in every sense of the word, 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 good hearted person. Looks really don’t matter, 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” in turning part of this story into a series was simply the title of the book itself.
“I just got a message somewhere along the line, through characters or people, that I could do things myself as a girl, and I have the same amount of insecurities or confidence issues or self-questioning,” Barrymore said. “But when people or characters make you believe you can, it’s that empowerment that’s irreplaceable.”
“I also liked the tone of the title, the tone of the books, that it was about being able, funny and cool. Savannah talks about hugging princesses, but they can also wear pants and do things, and for me it was just a revelation.”
With Guthrie and Barrymore behind the scenes, the cast of princess power is also incredibly star-cast, including Rita Moreno, who voices great-aunt Bussyboots, and Tan France and Andrew Rannells as Sir Benedict and his husband King Barton.
“It’s not meant to be dramatic, but it would have been life-changing,” France told TODAY.com. “I would have realized that there are other people like me out there in the world – and that there is a future for me.”
“It’s important for children to see that families all look different. It’s not always mom and dad… I want my own child to see that and realize that (our situation) is perfectly normal.”
“I don’t think there’s anything you can’t do”
Even if you are not a child princess power‘s sweet and rather clever writing is generally endearing, with some catchy music. Ultimately, the story is steeped in wish fulfillment and fantasy, as well as offering those invaluable lessons about girl power, friendship, and teamwork. As Barrymore points out, the book was written as a “love letter” to Guthrie’s daughter.
“It’s so much about your life and family,” Barrymore told Guthrie.
“I don’t think there’s anything you can’t or can’t do, and then knowing you what kind of person you are, I think this show, like the books, is you. You go out there every day embodying so many different tones, so many different skills. I think that’s why I’ve always believed in it.”
For Guthrie, she emphasized the story’s emphasis on women working together, something she and Barrymore exemplify in their real lives.
“We have certain strengths and certain challenges, but when we come together, take care of each other and work together, there’s nothing we can’t do,” Guthrie said. “I love that, that’s the spirit of the show and I love that on that meta level it’s about this partnership.”
“We’re behind the scenes, I think we’re living out what we’re trying to spread as a message, which is that together we’re stronger.”