Netflix’s new series Sweet Tooth isn’t the same kind of doom-and-gloom entry into the post-apocalyptic subgenre as shows like The Handmaid’s Tale or The Walking Dead. There are no totalitarian governments enslaving fertile women or flesh-eating zombies, although there is a virus, like in most zombie narratives, and creatures who are not exactly human.
“It’s a different kind of adventure that is full of magic and wonder in the mix of darkness,” Dominican-American actress Dania Ramirez, tells Remezcla during a recent interview. “That’s what makes it really special.”
In Sweet Tooth, which is based on a DC Comics limited-series comic book, the world has fallen victim to a deadly virus that might also be linked to the mysterious births of hybrid babies born part human and part animal. Ramirez plays Aimee Eden, a former therapist who creates a sanctuary for the hybrids after someone abandons one at her compound. Some humans fear that the hybrids are linked to the virus in some way, so Aimee makes it her mission to protect them from anyone who might want to harm them.
The story immediately spoke to Ramirez because she is a mother of 7-year-old twins (a boy and a girl) herself, and her character is someone who would do everything in her power to keep the hybrid children safe. When she read the script for the first time last year, the COVID-19 pandemic was at its height.
“You think of your children and want to protect them at any cost,” Ramirez said. “I loved [Aimee’s] outlook on life after the apocalypse. She saw it as an opportunity to restart her life and help these hybrid children and make that her purpose in life. That really resonated with me and the world I want to create for my children.”
Ramirez said she approached the role unlike any in her entire career. Before she would go to the set, she did a lot of meditating to help her get to a place of peace. “I really wanted to connect with the universe and nature and life in a way I hadn’t before,” she says. “I really wanted an understanding of where Aimee was coming from.”
She hopes to instill some of that appreciation for the natural world in her kids, too. She grew up in the Dominican Republic without a TV, so she knows how different life can be when technology isn’t as readily available as it is today.
It’s about dealing with [a pandemic] in a positive way… I think people are ready to see something hopeful like that.
“I want them to be prepared for this type of world [in Sweet Tooth],” Ramirez explains. “I don’t want to shelter them so much that they don’t have the luxuries of this day and age… but I already limit their screen time because I want them to know that there is a life outside of that.”
Although the world is still dealing with a real pandemic, Ramirez thinks audiences will be interested in watching something similar to reality (minus the hybrid children, of course).
“The beautiful thing about Sweet Tooth is that it’s offering you a different perspective,” she said. “It’s about dealing with [a pandemic] in a positive way and the good that can come of it. I think people are ready to see something hopeful like that.”
Ramirez is hopeful herself for another reason. Sweet Tooth’s debut season ends on such a big cliffhanger for Aimee that it would be almost impossible for Netflix not to renew the series for a second season, right?
“I’m always a positive thinker,” she says. “I’m grateful I got to be a part of this first season and this amazing journey. I’m not thinking so far ahead because that only causes anxiety. I’m just enjoying right now. Tomorrow’s never promised.”
Sweet Tooth is currently streaming on Netflix.