Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant try local ice cream at the red carpet premiere of Netflix’s ‘Santa Clarita Diet’ at SM Megamall last Monday.

Hollywood actor Timothy Olyphant looks back at days in Davao
Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - March 14, 2018 - 12:01am

MANILA, Philippines — “Santa Clarita Diet” stars Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant flew in for a red-carpet premiere for Season 2 of their Netflix series, but it wasn’t their first time in the country.

“Not for either of us,” Barrymore told cheering fans who showed up at the Fashion Hall in SM Megamall Monday night. 

“I was here two years ago, actually meeting with the SM people because I want to bring Flower Beauty, my company, here. I hope to very much bring my company here and this empowerment to women here,” the 43-year-old Hollywood star added. 

Olyphant drew surprise and louder cheers when he revealed that he used to live in the Philippines.

“When he was a baby!” Barrymore offered. 

“I used to live here. I lived in Davao. When I was young, my father worked for Del Monte and we lived here for a little bit. (It was) a very short time in my life,” the 49-year-old actor/producer said. 

“My great grandfather – if you don’t find this interesting, it’s OK – he was the head of engineering at the University of the Philippines,” he added.

He didn’t mention the name, but it is believed he was referring to his great-grandfather on his maternal side. 

The American stars are here for the first of two stops of the series’ Asian tour to promote the second season which debuts globally on Friday, March 23, on Netflix. They are heading next to Bangkok. ?Barrymore, who has been posting about her Philippine visit on Instagram before and after she arrived over the weekend, said, “It’s surreal, and it’s beautiful, and it’s overwhelming and I knew a moment like this would stay with me forever because it is like a dream to be here. I would say that by you stepping out of your homes and facing that traffic to be here is one of the most humbling things I could ever know in my life... We’re so proud to come to Manila and bring the second season to you.” 

In “Santa Clarita Diet,” Joel Hammond (Olyphant) and Sheila (Barrymore) are husband and wife realtors whose uneventful lives in the LA suburb of Santa Clarita with their teen daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) are turned upside down when Sheila becomes a zombie. 

According to the Season 2 primer, the family is now adapting to Sheila’s advanced undead state even though she’s desperately trying “not to be defined as just another monster.”

While the Hammonds have become markedly better at murder, the number of missing people in Santa Clarita is starting to pile up and getting noticed. Meanwhile, the couple decides to go after the source of the virus so they can “stop it from spreading and save humanity.” Sheila and Joel’s love for each other remains strong through it all.?Barrymore said what to expect in Season 2: “We try to rid the world of... we try to kill bad guys, so there’s like morals in what we’re doing, I hope. I think at the end of the day, the show is all about a family that fights to stay together and make it work, and I think that’s relatable to every couple in the planet whatever their circumstances are. It’s an optimistic, happy and funny show about this couple who has such crazy circumstances going around them, but they’re still trying to live their normal, daily life.”

“I agree, if you put aside the blood, it’s really quite a loving, heartwarming show,” Olyphant added. 

“But aren’t we all a little twisted? We’re all a little kooky,” Barrymore continued. “In this day and age, it’s not the 1950s where we’re all watching a family go through very basic, normal, everyday problems. This is a show that’s very current for people who have had been – through social media and the news – exposed to everything that’s happening in this world. It’s a show that’s trying to show how crazy life is.” 

When asked how Barrymore managed to make her undead character endearing to viewers, she said it was the instruction of showrunner Victor Fresco that “I want people to like you.”

“Although she becomes undead or a zombie, she was walking through her life a little dead anyway, so really this is her wake-up call. I lost 20 pounds during the show. I had a wake-up call myself by being her. She’s giving it the full Oprah! She’s living her best life. Sometimes, in our lives, we need a kick in the ass and a wake-up call, and for her it’s becoming undead,” said Barrymore, who in previous interviews, had credited the series for helping her cope with her own failed marriage and divorce. 

“I think it’s a great metaphor for women that sometimes, we just need to put ourselves back together, be healthy and be in a mindset that’s empowered and excited. So, I think, zombie aside, this show is really about a couple who becomes more excited about life, empowered, having more fun, being sexier.”

“The short of it, they love each other,” Olyphant said. 

Barrymore said writers push the boundaries and come up with the craziest scenes that small wonder if one thinks how the show will still have some kindness and tenderness about it. 

“And it does,” she said. “We act it out in front a roomful of people, and they see what works and what does not. They make tweaks and they shoot the episode.” 

With “Santa Clara Diet” being her first-ever TV project, it involves a lot of hard work, but Barrymore, one of Hollywood’s favorite leading ladies, said that out of the 60 movies she has done and “working since I was 11 months old, this is one of the best and most lucky jobs I’ve ever had in my life.” 

As for Olyphant, he said they had more fun working on Season 2 and the stakes are higher with his character set on stopping whatever happened to Shiela from happening to everyone else and consequently, save the world. 

“I think we should, if we have the opportunity to try to save the world, take it!” Olyphant, turning serious, urged the audience.

Given the show’s themes, Barrymore was also asked what’s her own “Santa Clarita Diet.”

“When I’m being Shiela, I eat clean. No sugar, wheat, soy, dairy, protein, almost raw and vegan. And I exercise at least four times a week. But the minute the show ends, I’m crashing on pizza and beer. I’m feeling like I’m living a double life, who does nothing but just enjoying everything —carbs, cheese and wine. And then, I live the other half of the year eating perfectly clean. I don’t know what it’s doing to my arteries and heart (laughs) but I gotta get back on the ‘Santa Clarita Diet’ next month.”

The stars ended the more than 30-minute meet and greet with a bit of the Pinoy diet as well by having a scoop of some bloody-red colored sorbetes aptly dubbed Strawberry Splat. 

They left for Bangkok yesterday for the “Santa Clarita Diet” premiere.

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