Starring in the confronting new drama Not Okay, co-stars Dylan O’Brien and Zoey Deutch sit down with marie claire Australia to talk about what drew them to the film, their first experience with influencer culture, and why they’ll always been on Taylor Swift’s team.
marie claire: Not Okay puts influencer culture under a microscope and examines how it’s become part of the zeitgeist. What drew you both to the script?
Zoey Deutch: I’m really fascinated by cancel culture. When you do a horrible thing, there are consequences, but we’re in an interesting time where we sit behind our computers and play God, and decide who gets to live or die. Public shaming and cancellation isn’t a new thing, but the scope, and how quick and inescapable it is, is new. I was really interested in that conversation and asking the question, should people be allowed to make mistakes? Do you believe in redemption? I think everybody looks inward. That’s always been a really interesting thing for me to discuss; Internet culture, privilege and the mindless endless scrolling that we do. On social media you see war and school shootings, and then sprinkled in there are ads for hair and gummies and beyond Facetuned photos, and you’re just hit with this stuff. That’s what drew me to the story.
MC: What was your first exposure to influencer culture?
Dylan O’Brien: I guess YouTube was the first iteration of it, and since then it’s just had these different evolutions. It feels like anybody can become an influencer with the way TikTok is designed, it makes it easier to find your way to anyone’s pages.
MC: Did any of the current influencers or make for a great character research?
ZD: We spoke to, and I won’t name names, many cancelled people. I had some really wonderful, insightful and interesting conversations with public figures who have been cancelled. They were multifaceted people who had made bad mistakes, and were suffering consequences, and were wondering, how long would they be suffering for.
MC: Dylan, you use Twitter, as a platform for advocacy on everything from pro-choice, LQBTQI rights, black lives matter ect. Why is using your voice and your platform on this medium something that is important to you?
DO: I think it’s mostly driven by what’s been going on in the world. The way I see it is that it’s this collective, this conversation and fight. In such unprecedented times it’s sort of an emotional desperation. If you can possibly bring even the tiniest little percentage of awareness, I think it’s our collective duty to do that together.
MC: Zoey you’re in Ed Sheeran’s Perfect music video and Dylan you’re the heartbreaker in Taylor’s All Too Well. What was the experience like?
DO: Working with Taylor was amazing. I can’t believe she’s real sometimes. She just naturally became a friend so quickly. It felt like we’d known each other for years, we’re the same age and have a lot of mutual friends. She’s the best and so brilliant.
ZD: What’s funny about both Taylor and Ed is they are both so prolific. They write hit after hit. Their songs are so deep, vulnerable and personal. I remember asking Ed ‘are you ever worried you’ll get writer’s block?’ And he’s like, ‘Absolutely not.’ They are similar in that sense, they just have so much to say.
MC: What genre would you like to tackle next?
DO: I’d love to do a horror movie.
ZD: Me too!
MC: Would you play the hero or the villain?
Dylan: I don’t think I’d be believable as the bad guy.
Zoey: Really? I think he could be a good creepy murderer and I mean that lovingly.
Dylan: For weeks I’ve been on this 80s erotic thriller kick. We’re got to bring back the erotic thriller.
Zoey: Dylan’s interested in being fully nude for an hour and a half. I feel confident we can make that happen.
MC: Have you read A Court of Thorn and Roses? It’s essentially fairy porn, but they’re making it into a film.
Dylan: What, no?
Zoey: Ok, we need to delve deep. Dylan’s looking into fairy porn now.
Dylan: This is cool.
Zoey: Okay, this is your next movie Dylan.
Not Okay is now streaming on Disney+