Dylan OBrien Becomes A Viral Weed Blogger Through Director Quinn Shephard

Dylan OBrien Becomes A Viral Weed Blogger Through Director Quinn Shephard ...

Not Okay is out now, with a whole new breed of fraudster: a Zillennial Karen, a wolf in Reformation clothes, and the human embodiment of Instagram's social justice infographic. When we first meet her, she pretends to be Emily standing beside the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, but instead, she doubles down on the lie: a teenage school shooting survivor-turned-influencer-activist.

Shephard, a former child actor, believes they're just enhanced versions of what happens in the real world, which is not uncommon. [Danni has] a tendency to overlook the world around her, which allows her to glorify trauma.

Danni is skilled at plotting social, but Shephard has an even better grasp on internet culture, masterfully satirizing the condition of being extremely internet, skewering our current sociopolitical situation.

These are tough topics to deal with, especially in a film brimming with pitch-perfect e-kid parodies. (Both Deutch and her co-star Dylan OBrien became so enthralled that stills from the film went viral before they even began filming.) That's what she wants to accomplish in her work. I want to examine what I've learned from my friends, my colleagues, and ourselves. #NoFilter.

Kendall Jenner discusses her Pepsi ad, the summer of scams, and bad sex below.

This film encompasses so many topical issues that it's almost overwhelming. Gun control, Karenism, terrorism, trauma porn, the dangers of social media, etc. Which of these themes were your starting point in the story?

I want people to be aware that this film isn't just about social media; it's also about the internet as a realism as well. I want people to know how to deal with this mess in themselves. How can I stop being a Danni Sanders?

I imagine that when you were shopping for this project around there were people who would not touch it. Employees who believed Danni was too unlikable, or that these topics were too frightening to satirize.

One hundred percent. When we started to research for a property for the film and began talking to agents about casting, it became very clear that people either loved and were overwhelmed by it. The movies are divisive. It's a really unpleasant experience. I get it.

I was like, These are not the partners when I got in conversations with people who were like, Oh, this film is recommending, put down your phones. On one of our first calls, we were talking about the Pepsi ad that Kendall Jenner did, and [other examples of] taking real trauma and making it digestible with a hot white girl at the front.

That Pepsi ad is a great comp for this film. What else was on your Danni Sanders mood board?

There's a sprinkle of summer of scam, Caroline Calloway, and all of that. I was so angry about the epidemic of shootings that we had and continue to have. When I started writing, I was like, There's no way were ever going to shoot this film, because by the time it would be made, there'll be laws.

In the wake of Uvalde, you're releasing the film.

I wish those things that made me angry when I wrote this werent still happening.

There are some minor, seemingly throwaway moments in the film that are more relevant today than ever. Like when Danni is walking around Brooklyn, drinking Diet Coke, and casually popping Plan B. I am sure you didnt expect that to be a political statement when you wrote it.

I didnt realize it. I did not expect the RBG retrospective joke in the film to age the way that it did. There are also several Senate and Supreme Court statements in the film.

The film is also a fun house mirror, especially seeing Zoey and Dylan completely transformed into these hypebeasts.

Dylan is playing a viral weed blogger, so right away I had the MGK, Justin Bieber, and Pete Davidson ideas in my head. He was immediately like, Lets go hard. He was watching documentary about YouTubers, TikTokers, and Hype House people.

Mia Isaac was 17 at the time and would send me TikTok thirst trap boys, and then I was sending Dylan teenage boy thirst traps from TikTok, being like, Can you do this pose during the influencer party scene? I was like, What about this shirt? What about this fanny pack?

Dylan's character is terrible at sex, while Pete Davidson and MGK's whole personas stem from the notion that they're apparently great in bed. It's apparently troll girls who like these types of f*ckboys.

I was really trolling the fandom by giving them the least sexy sex of all time.

For clarity, this interview has been edited and condensed.

You may also like: