JESSICA: I got a phone call one night from Drew, and I could tell the level of her excitement about Grey Gardens was equal to mine, and I thought, Oh, if this could work out it would be so perfect. When we did meet, the chemistry was certainly everything I hoped it would be.
DREW: There’s a lot of pressure that comes with these roles, but at least we were in it together, winking and smiling at each other the whole time. The story is essentially a love story. It’s about two people who choose each other over the world. There were so many moments where Edie looked at her mom and would be angry and burst out at her, but there are so many more moments when she is looking at her with just love and admiration and this belief that there is no woman on the planet who is more fun and beautiful, and I feel all those things for Jessica.
JESSICA: When we first met, we spent a couple of days out at the actual Grey Gardens on Long Island, where we got to be really kind of wacky. Taking long walks, talking to each other in these weird voices the Edies had. It all kind of gelled.
DREW: You could go nuts playing these women who were tortured one minute and singing and dancing the next. It was a schizophrenic mind-set. Our days were very long, and I shut out the whole world. I didn’t talk to any of my friends; I only wanted to live in our little world. I just had Jessica.
JESSICA: The singing was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. I had to get rid of my own neuroses and then actually perform because these women were born entertainers. Somehow Drew has become the only person in the world who makes me feel like I can sing!
DREW: I actually think our singing coach must have had pixie dust or something—he made us feel like little songbirds. We were always rooting each other on.
JESSICA: There are moments when I feel incredibly maternal toward Drew. I remember one time, I went to watch her at dance rehearsal. She was learning how to foxtrot, and I knew it was a hard dance, and I felt this welling of pride. And I realized this is what I would feel like if I were sitting there watching one of my own children. But mostly we are just great pals. At night we would share a couple of bottles of wine and some old movies from the ’30s.
DREW: You would make me laugh so much in dance class that I couldn’t even move. I thought our teacher was going to quit once, I really did. We went home that night and put on Dancing Lady with Joan Crawford, and we were just twirling around the hotel room, practicing some of the moves we learned that day. I just was like, When do you do this in life? It was a lovely moment.
JESSICA: I tend to be very dark and kind of gloomy by nature. I think I inherited it. Being friends with Drew is a great lesson in the joy of life. She sees the positive. That was great for me. It’s good to be around people like that. You don’t want to be around people like me!
DREW: It’s true, we are different that way, but make no mistake, she is one of the funniest women I have ever known. And I live to laugh, so I felt like I found a fellow hen in the pen. I remember the first time we went to dinner after the movie ended, and we were like, “Damn, you look hot!” We were laughing because we had forgotten what we looked like underneath the extra pounds of flesh and makeup.
JESSICA: You forget and you catch a glimpse of yourself and realize, Oh, this is what aging is about. Even off set, you think you look like you’re 30, and then suddenly it’s horrifying!
DREW: The fat suits, the balding and the aging yourself 30 years is pretty intense. And then living like that for months and months at a time begins to affect you because you do start to forget what’s really underneath. At a certain point during the filming, it got to where I was convinced I was going to be fat, bald and old forever.
JESSICA: The night we went to the Golden Globes together, Drew was laughing and happy as we got ready, like she was getting ready for the prom. I was the one fraught with anxiety. I’ve never been comfortable with going out and being photographed, and I’ve become less so as time goes by. If I’ve got a clean pair of jeans and a T-shirt, that’s usually a good day for me. That night turned out to be a different kind of experience. If I had been there on my own, I probably would have left early.
DREW: Whenever we see each other now, we’re like girls out on the town. I feel like there’s no question that we are going to be lifelong friends who are always able to pick up right where we left off. No matter how long it’s been, you see each other and the time disappears—you get right back on the train. That’s real friendship; that’s real chemistry.