‘Santa Clarita Diet’ Boss on What’s Next for the Hammonds, Gary’s Fate & More in Season 3
Netflix’s beloved horror comedy series Santa Clarita Diet returns for Season 3 on Friday, March 29, and there’s a lot to look forward to.
Last time fans saw Joel (Timothy Olyphant) and Sheila Hammond (Drew Barrymore), their secret killings on behalf of Sheila’s strictly human diet were discovered by Sheriff Anne (Natalie Morales). So what’s next? TV Insider spoke with series creator and showrunner, Victor Fresco, about what viewers can expect.
Below, Fresco clues us in on everything, including the Hammonds’ next move, Abby (Liv Hewson) and Eric’s (Skyler Gisondo) shenanigans, Gary’s (Nathan Fillion) fate, and some new guest stars. Don’t miss out on a single delicious detail.
In a few words, what can viewers expect from Season 3 of Santa Clarita Diet?
Victor Fresco: Season 3 picks up where Season 2 left off so now the circle of who is aware of Sheila’s issue is widening, Natalie Morales – [who plays] Sheriff Anne – now knows and she thinks Sheila is doing God’s work, so that’s something that the Hammonds will have to address.
This Knights of Serbia group — Zach Knighton and Jee Young Han who played Paul and Marsha — are onto the Hammonds also. So, their world is growing a little bit and the danger to them is growing. The show is a love story of how these two people can survive and stay together with this obstacle they’re confronted with and this kind of craziness around them. It’s also a roller coaster ride the third season, particularly there’s a lot of intensity that they have to deal with.
Will the episode maintain a similar pacing? It’s only been about three weeks since Sheila was changed in the first season?
Yeah. The first season was like two weeks, the second season was I think about three weeks and the third season turns out to be about the same amount of time. You know every episode is about a day or a day and a half, so the third season is pretty compressed also, so everything is happening quickly.
Sheila and Joel revealed their true nature to Anne in the finale. How will that impact the Hammonds moving forward?
I think what it does for Sheila is she wonders if this happened to her for a reason and is there a bigger purpose in her life? The fact that [her transformation]’s now happened over a month ago allows her to think about bigger questions.
I think in the first season and in the second season it was “how do I survive this and what is this? What’s happening to me?” Now I think she’s thinking “Why did this happen?”
Anne’s religiosity is used as a springboard for Sheila to think about bigger questions. They’re also thinking about the question of living forever, which we haven’t really addressed in the first couple of seasons. But we realize that Sheila won’t age and she’ll live forever like this so how does that impact her and how does that impact the relationship?
How is Abby and Eric’s relationship going to evolve?
They get in a little over their heads. In the last season they take action against this fracking site and… turns into a bigger issue than they expected it to be. So, that’s something we’ll be backing this year and then they have a really sweet relationship. We, the writers, love that relationship and so we have a lot of fun with that also this year… I don’t want to say where it goes or doesn’t go, but I think it’s a very satisfying relationship. I think audiences will be very satisfied with it also.
Will there be more undead sightings?
The third season I think is more, “Uh oh, people are onto Sheila.” You know? People are onto the Hammonds… that immediate threat is over but [there’s other] threats that come to them that they’re gonna kind of have to ward off and deal with this year… It’s not as much finding out that other people are infected by this as it is what are they gonna do now that the community of who knows about them is growing and obviously that puts them in a huge danger.
Sheriff Anne doesn’t know that [Sheila] eats people, she doesn’t know all of it… In her mind she’s risen from the dead, she kills bad people, and she puts those pieces together and assumes she’s doing God’s work. But she doesn’t know that last piece of it.
Will Gary return? His disembodied head was still around at the end of Season 2.
Gary is back, yes. And he’s kind of accepted his life, Gary [Laughs]. Like many of us who may not enjoy the things we’ve been dealt with in life, you know you can adapt and adjust to it. Obviously that was a big thing for him to adapt and adjust to but he does and gets more comfortable with his new life. And he’s a good friend of Joel too which we wanted to hold onto cause Joel can’t talk to many people about what he’s going through. And Gary’s gone through a change too — he used to be this guy that attacked Sheila and now he’s a sensitive guy.
Viewers love this series. Why do you think the horror-comedy genre mashup is such a success?
At their core, they’re both about tension so they really kind of go hand in glove I think… So to me it was just a natural fit, comedy and horror. You certainly see it in movies all the time… We took this big idea and tried to kind of ground it in reality keeping it small in terms of relationships and how people would really react to a situation like this.
The show has never shied away from getting bloody, what are the bodies that Drew Barrymore eats in the show actually made of?
They’re different things, there’s a stringy material that she can pull on almost like an elastic, material that’s not edible and not poisonous but something that she would not swallow. There’s a crunchy [one] — I think it’s almost like a carrot material, for when she’s chewing on a finger or something like that.
That’s part of the fun I think our effects guys have… Some of the organs I think are a gelatin kind of material, so that can be chewed… and then I think most of it doesn’t taste great… Drew is a trooper, it’s edible but it’s not delicious… The priority is to make it look real….
You’ve had some great guest stars in the past two seasons, can we expect more in the latest batch of episodes?
There are new faces. I’m really happy with the guest cast… We do have some adversaries that come in and you’ll see the very first scene of the first show back, we have a great actor who comes from Croatia and plays a Serbian… Jonathan Slavin is back with us — he was in the second season. My friend Malcolm Barrett (Timeless) who was in Better Off Ted with Jonathan is also [guesting]. So Better Off Ted fans [will enjoy seeing them together.] And there’s a bunch of other folks that are wonderful. We had a really fun guest cast this year.
Is Santa Clarita Diet as fun to make as it is to watch?
[Laughs], Yes, I think it’s more work to make than it is to watch, but it is fun to make and we say you’re only as happy as your least happy actor because if your actors aren’t happy you’re gonna be unhappy. I was lucky enough to get not only really gifted actors but very nice, generous people who are really fun to work with. It’s fun to be on set with Tim Olyphant and Drew Barrymore and Skyler Gisondo, Liv [Hewson] — they’re all wonderful to be around… I’m lucky to work with a lot of nice people.
Can we expect more seasons if Netflix give the go-ahead?
Oh yeah, I mean there’s always more to be told and I think the way the final episode ends is satisfying if the show is ending there and I also think it promises something that would be really fun to explore next season too if we continue.
Santa Clarita Diet, Season 3 Premiere, Friday, March 29, Netflix