Local Recalls Working As Drew Barrymore’s Double In New ‘Firestarter’ Movie Releases

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A new hit is hitting closer to home for some locals. The new film, Firestarter is based on the 1984 film of the same name shot in Wilmington.

The explosive new trailer has brought back old memories for Jennifer Bunch. The mom and the pediatric nurse were part of the original film, playing Drew Barrymore’s double.

“They show her eyes closed when she looks into the fire,” Bunch explained. “It’s…it’s me.” And every time she lights the fire and you see her back, that’s me too.

When movie studios first came to Wilmington, Bunch recalls his mother auditioning for movie after movie, dragging ten-year-old Jennifer with her.

“I kind of popped out from behind her, and everyone in the room kind of stopped,” she recalled. “Casting Agents. They were all looking at me. And I remember thinking, why is everyone looking at me? And apparently, I looked like him.

Just like Drew Barrymore, starring in the Stephen King movie right after ET.

As a child, Barrymore could only work limited hours. Crews used Bunch to set up shots and lighting, and for angles that didn’t show Barrymore’s face. Bunch remembers having to stand perfectly still as his character blew up a wall of cinder blocks. She was so nervous that her father had to hide behind a nearby set to keep her company.

According to Bunch, “I remember, if you look really close, you see her, you see Charlie jumping… that’s me. I was so scared!”

While Bunch voiced Barrymore in Firestarter and Cat’s Eye, the girls sparked a friendship.

“We shared a room for about two years,” Bunch said. “I went on vacation to Hawaii together. So yeah, it was like I had a sister for a few years.

Bunch showed the film to his children for the first time during the pandemic. Seeing the new trailer decades later reminds Bunch how lucky she was to be in the right place at the right time.

“I don’t take a lot of time to think about it, but every time I do it’s like, oh wow!” she laughed. “It was, it was a very strange experience but at the time it was just like, ok, that’s what I do now. It’s funny!”

Bunch donated the rest of his props and photos to the Cape Fear Museum. She hasn’t decided whether or not she’ll see the new Firestarter in theaters.

About Cecil Cobb

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