Everyone needs a little bit of Netflix in their life, and Drew Barrymore is no exception. Her new zombie comedy Santa Clarita Diet, debuting today on the streaming site, came about at a time she needed it most. "When you think that something could be so the wrong timing for your life, it could be the thing that actually ends up making you a lot happier than you were," she tells a small group of reporters on the Santa Clarita Diet premiere red carpet in Los Angeles. "This show really gave something to my personal life and I needed a wake-up call. I was just sort of, like, not in the best place and it totally liberated me."
The 10-episode comedy stars Barrymore as Sheila and Timothy Olyphant as Joel, a husband-and-wife realtor team stuck in a rut in the L.A. suburb of Santa Clarita. But everything suddenly changes in one fateful day when Sheila starts to crave human flesh. While Netflix tried to keep the zombie twist under wraps, the secret came out earlier this month. But Barrymore, smiling on the loud red carpet as cameras flashed all around her, promised that this is not your run-of-the-mill zombie TV show.
"It is about a family, and a marriage, and different relationships," Barrymore says. "I think it is funny and we could all use a good fat dose of humor right now. It's got balls and backbone. It's a very balanced show."
In the spirit of Netflix, Olyphant urged viewers to watch all 10 episodes in one sitting, if they can. "Yeah, binge it," he says with a laugh. "Watch it at your convenience. I think that's the idea."
Olyphant didn't mind playing the straight man to Barrymore's wackier Sheila as Joel watches his wife transform into a zombie, attempting to help her deal with her new reality.
"She's kind of kicking ass, I'm trying to keep up," he says. "I had fun."
According to both Barrymore and Olyphant, most of the fun they had on set was when it came time to filming any scene with blood or gore in it ... which for Barrymore was more often than not as Sheila is constantly eating people.
"I was like, go for all of it," Barrymore says. "Bloody, eating people. I had to take a shower at work and get into the car like cold and shivering."
And the skill of chowing down on fake human flesh didn't require any kind of preparation from the actress. "I know how to go to town on something," she says with a laugh.
While Olyphant didn't get to partake in any bloody dining experiences, he also endured his fair share of gory, gross scenes during filming. "There's a scene where there's a dead guy in the bathtub and I'm shaving his legs," he says. "That was a little odd. You don't [prepare for anything like that]. You just show up and have a good time."
A word of warning: do not try to eat while watching Santa Clarita Diet. Just trust me on that.