Michelle Kung
February 15, 2007 AT 10:15 PM EST

Say what you will about the plot of Music and Lyrics, but you can’t get more rom-com perfect than casting Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore as the leads in a movie coming out on Valentine’s Day. All you’re missing is a baby seal and you’ve got yourself a cuteness trifecta.

And just as cute in person as you’d expect? Barrymore, whom I spoke to in between shooting scenes for M&L‘s finale last summer. With the shoot taking place at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum (subbing as Madison Square Garden), I showed up at 10 a.m. and was temporarily seated among the extras, who were pretending to be audience members for a show by faux pop star Cora Corman, played by newcomer Haley Bennett. (I’d like to think that you can see my face for half of a millisecond, but I’d also be kidding myself). Quite a few of the extras had answered a call for bodies on Craigslist and were ditching work to cheer on a fake concert.

addCredit(“Music and Lyrics: Gene Page”)

Because all of the principals were in the final scene, I eventuallymade my way backstage, where I chatted with Kristen Johnston and BradGarrett, whose sitcom ‘Til Death had just been picked up by Foxthe day before and prompting frequent congratulations. I also sat withdirector Marc Lawrence and the set choreographer, who both spoke alittle too earnestly about how “hard-working” Drew and Hugh were,before I was golf-carted to Barrymore’s trailer (Grant, who waspracticing the piano onstage, was “too busy” to talk.)

Apologizing for the mess (clothes, jewelry, and panties were strewnabout), the way-tinier-than-you’d-expect actress gabbed aboutboilerplate stuff — casting, rehearsals, joy of stretching herselfartistically — before revealing her secret passion: fashion design. Ahuge Project Runway fan, she explained how she and her staffpassed the time by staging their own creation contest, displaying thechic (and not-so-chic) around the walls of her trailer. Her fave? Ablue and green Scottish kilt number with safety pins. So, you know, ifthe whole acting thing doesn’t work out, she’s got a fall-back option.

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