Playing an undead woman nearly killed Drew Barrymore.
While promoting her new zombie series, Santa Clarita Diet, in New York City, Thursday, February 9, the actress, 41, told Us Weekly that she “almost died” making the Netflix show. In the dark comedy, Barrymore plays Sheila, a California real estate agent who becomes a zombie and feeds on other humans to survive.
In one episode, she jumps on a man’s back to kill him — but while rehearsing the scene, she fell off and smacked her skull on concrete. The actor “was a wide guy and Drew didn’t get a great grip,” recalled creator Victor Fresco, who also spoke with Us Weekly. “Then he held onto her legs as she slipped off, and so she just pivoted down all the way and just hit her head. I thought, ‘That’s it. We’ve killed Drew Barrymore.'”
The mom to Olive, 4, and Frankie, 2, cringed as she thought about the July 2016 incident that left her with a concussion. “It was f–king terrifying,” she continued. “It was very serious. I’ve never had a feeling like that in my life.” Paramedics arrived at the Santa Clarita, California, set and whisked her to a nearby hospital, where she spent two days undergoing MRIs and CAT scans.
Production shut down while Barrymore was hospitalized. But when she returned to the set a week after the accident, the Golden Globe winner still had to film the scene. (Fresco admitted he never considered scrapping it.) “Coming back, it was scary,” she continued. “Everyone was really tense.”
There was, however, a silver lining: Barrymore saw how the entire cast and crew rallied around her. “I love that this group of people, who aren’t family necessarily, are coming together and care about my well-being,” she remembered thinking. “It was a nice moment where you see the good in people.”
All 10 episodes of Santa Clarita Diet are streaming now on Netflix.
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