Barrymore, 43, who plays a mom-turned-zombie on the Netflix series, begrudgingly diets to fit the look of a woman on a high-protein (aka human flesh) diet.
“Let’s face it, I hate it,” she said of her filming diet, during an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden on Wednesday night. “I would much rather eat fettuccine alfredo all day long.
But Barrymore wanted to show the major life change her character, Sheila Hammond, is going through after becoming a zombie. And it came at a time when Barrymore was going through her own life change after splitting from ex-husband Will Kopelman.
“When I first started the show, I was 145 lbs. and my life was kind of falling apart,” she said. “And I said, ‘Victor [Fresco, the show’s executive producer], can I lose 20 lbs. over the course of the show, and change my eyebrows and the height of my shoes and the body language and attitude and go from someone who’s kind of naïve and unhappy to someone who’s empowered and alive?’ And he said yes, and so I got to make that transformation.”
Barrymore successfully lost those 20 lbs. for the first season of show, and then fully enjoyed herself once they finished shooting.
“When I’m doing the show I’m a vegan and I barely eat anything, and I workout every day, and it’s so healthy,” she said. “It gets to be euphoric, and then it’s like food poisoning, you feel like you’ll never eat again, and then before you know it you’re pigging out with the feed bag strapped to your face. And I’m a foodie, and love food and I travel the world for food, so I get heavy again between the show.”
She followed the same plan to shoot the second season, and has now “let it go again.”
“I heard Denzel Washington does this and I don’t know because I just want to believe it, I don’t want to know it’s not true. But he just enjoys his life and then pulls himself back together when he’s doing movies and looks amazing,” Barrymore said. “So I’m giving it the full ‘Denzel,’ even if that exists or not, and I let myself go.”
But while Barrymore doesn’t mind her extra weight, her mom, daughter and even a stranger have commented on her body in the last few weeks. While leaving a restaurant with her friends and all of their kids, a woman stopped her.
“She’s like, ‘God, you have so many kids,’ and I go ‘Well not all of them are mine, I just have two.’ And she’s like, ‘Well, and you’re expecting, obviously.’ And I just looked at her and go ‘No, I’m just fat right now,’ ” Barrymore recalled. “And I walked out of the restaurant and I was like, ‘Oh man, that is rough.’ “