Drew Barrymore makes her TV debut with a series for Netflix called “Santa Clarita Diet” where she plays Sheila, a real estate agent that turns into a zombie overnight. How will this affect the lives of a suburban family in California? The 41-years-old actress chats with Metro about the series and shares her experience filming it.
“Santa Clarita Diet” is fun and at the same time disgusting. What was the intention of all of this?
I believe that the series has a certain optimism that if you surpass the blood or the vomit, you discover in the plot a sweetness, an optimism and a certain function of the family that is the base of the plot and that was what attracted me to the project. It gave me that emotional factor and so the blood, the gore is just part of the fun for me — more than just being something dark and disgusting. It’s funny. Scary is seeing a neighbor spying on you out the window — that scares me. I have a friend who told me she did not know if she could endure so much gore and I felt like “Sheila,” and told her “Get over it, you coward.”
What has been the most disgusting thing you’ve had to eat?
I worked very closely with the special effects team. They always gave me different things. Every day on set I was wondering, what will they give me to eat today? There was everything from liquid cake, dehydrated apples or an edible garter that tasted sweet. One day there was soup from a large corporation that I will not name.
Was it fat-free? Because you were just saying how during shooting you were trying to lose weight…
Well, that’s my job. Definitely the things I got on set had more calories than what I was eating with my diet but I had to do it. And I really did, I loved it. The fact that I had to take showers before getting into the car every night at the end of the day cracked me up.
Did you get an idea of what it was going to be like from your first script reading? How did you find out that you were going to eat humans?
When I received the script, I was at a time when I did not want to work. So it was not that they were throwing scripts at me and I was turning them down but I was more concentrated on creating and producing. But my agent and my partner spent months almost hitting me with this script, asking me to read it. It was not my plan to work — I wanted to stay home with my daughters. But when I read it, they convinced me because it was something different and fresh. It took me out of a very sad moment in my life that was happening: my divorce. Reading the script was fun, it gave me joy and made me laugh. It was touching at the same time. And I immediately agreed to participate in Santa Clarita. And now I must admit that I was very fortunate. Sheila made my life so much better. She woke me up. She’s awesome. I like her.
So, you were the last to arrive to the show?
I was the last one but I really wanted to work with these guys. I was lucky to be invited to this party.
How do you define the tone of the show?
The show isn’t a parody but it isn’t a satire either. It does not mock the genre in any way. I feel that the idea of a zombie in the family is carried out in the most realistic and authentic way possible. That’s why I cannot relate it to any other genre. I cannot make movies or TV series on time travel or aliens because I cannot relate to that. I always look for humanity in the characters I play, and now there are zombies but the plot is about the relationship between a marriage and the family where there is a new condition between them.
“Santa Clarita Diet” is now available for streaming on Netflix.