While at first glance the words 'Santa Clarita Diet' might have you rolling your eyes and imagining gullible Californians succumbing to yet another fad eating plan, it's actually the name of the brand new Netflix comedy series starring Drew Barrymore and Tim Olyphant. The diet itself refers to Barrymore's characters strange new craving for human flesh following a bizarre shift in which she suddenly finds herself as the living dead.
#SantaClaritaDiet is hilarious and filled with as many delightfully silly moments as you'd expect from a show about a realtor whose perfect, yet dull, life suddenly becomes fueled by her craving for fresh meat. But after taking a bite out of the series, you might find yourself mulling over the question of what exactly Sheila, Drew Barrymore's character, is chowing down on?! The answer is probably not raw meat or human flesh, so what is it?
Special effects makeup master Christien Tinsley is the head of the team responsible for the makeup effects and prosthetics in Santa Clarita Diet, and he revealed that making the meaty props for the show was a tad harder than usual because despite playing a cannibal, Drew Barrymore herself doesn't actually eat meat. Tinsley told the NY Post:
"There were so many things you couldn’t use. I would have said let’s get some raw tuna, sushi-grade, and bloody it up and make life easy and it didn’t work that way. We ended up defaulting to gummy bear formula. It's gelatinous, it's translucent, we can cast it into food-grade molds we created to look like meat and visceral tendon, and we could paint them with food dyes."
And as for the ground meat we see Sheila scoffing, that was ground up pasta colored with food dye, and the gory shakes she sips on were simply blended beets and bananas! For all that fake blood used in the series, Tinsley used Prosthetic Transfer Material's red drum blood, as well as Ken Diaz's K.D. 151 fake blood blend for the blood on Barrymore's face, which needed to be fresher.
Though there are a lot of different fake blood blends, they mostly all contain water thickened with methyl cellulose, caramel coloring, preservatives to keep it fresh and surfactants, which give the blood a different quality to what a water-based product has, and makes it move in a realistically bloody way.
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Obviously one of the more difficult parts of being a cannibal is having to nibble around things like finger and toe nails, as well as body hair. In the series we occassionally see Sheila spitting out hairballs, which thankfully were made from synthetic hair. However, Tinsley and his crew did actually use real hair on the parts of the bodies that weren't going in Barrymore's mouth.
And, with Drew Barrymore having to get so bloody for her part in the show, you might imagine that the actress might balk at the idea of being smeared in so much fake blood, but Tinsley told WWD that she was totally ready for all that gore. "Many times, she would be the person to grab the blood and be like, 'I want more here and I’m gonna do this' and just bit into it and be a part of the process."