It breaks my heart to say that Drew Barrymore would have nothing to do with this Scream from 2022.
Gone are the days when characters cautiously picked up their clunky landline phone, unaware of the horror that awaited them on the other end. Repeated calls from a strange voice asking, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” would hit you with the lock button and emergency call slider on your iPhone. If someone tied up your handsome quarterback friend on your patio, all you have to do is quickly scan the Citizen app to see if there have been similar events in the area.
Our modern level of tech-infused connectivity has all but eliminated life’s mysteries and taken the thriller genre with it.
But while our connected second nature has the ability to make us feel safe, it has also made us even more vulnerable. In 2019, a stalker claimed he determined the whereabouts of a Japanese pop singer by the reflection in her eyes in a photo posted online. In an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashiansthe older Kardashian sisters tried to stop their younger sister Kylie from tagging her location on Snapchat after clashing with her own stalker.
It’s a deceptively dangerous world out there that can be manipulated with even the simplest of lies. chloethe zany new six-episode Amazon Prime miniseries, dives headfirst into these kinds of lies, examining why they’re told and the different types of harm they cause – and how our obsession with technology and social media makes it so easy to break them to pull out.
chloe follows a girl in her twenties named Becky (Erin Doherty) who believes her life could be more exciting and glamorous than it is. Stuck in a career rut, she works as a temp and spends most of her free time looking after her mother, who suffers from early onset dementia. Her daily escape is to follow other people’s lives through their social media accounts.
One morning, Becky discovers that one of her favorite people, Chloe, has suddenly committed suicide — at least that’s what the cryptic goodbye message she posted online tells us. In an alarmingly short amount of time, Becky uses handy technical tricks and her unassuming wit to work her way into Chloe’s inner circle. Once she sneaks her way in, she tries to piece together the pieces of Chloe’s life and death.
Ahead of the series premiere, The Daily Beast spoke to Alice Seabright, series writer/creator and director of the first three episodes, about how she managed to craft such an intricately layered web of deception, the classic thriller films she… used inspirations during production and how our modern desire to be noticed can fuel our darkest machinations.
I just wanted to dive right in because I’m dying to know where the idea for a series like this came from. It’s unlike anything out there we’ve seen before.
I was just really interested in writing about a character who uses lies to cover up certain insecurities and who also uses lies to access things that she doesn’t have access to in her life for practical, pragmatic reasons or even reasons could be psychological reasons. And at the same time, I wanted to explore the themes of very intense female obsession and friendship. So all these different things were floating around, and then they kind of fitted into the premise of the obsession’s object.
It’s such a current premise, and also so prescient in an uncanny way. It feels very current, but it also feels like it’s captured the mood of the last 10 or 15 years.
It absolutely raises some contemporary issues, but in a different way, some of my main influences when we were developing it were the stories like The talented Mr RipleyPatricia Highsmith and Rebecca. So it was also fun to take these more classic inspirations and comment on them in a very contemporary world.
and Ripley and chloe are so similar because their premise is based around keeping secrets, and the more secrets we collect, the more everything will fall apart no matter what. I thought that made the show a very tight thriller, which was great because the thriller genre is dying out – I think because there’s more of a loss of privacy now. Do you think secrets that are harder to keep in a technologically savvy world made planning the show harder for you?
Planning something in the contemporary world… is something else entirely. It’s harder to keep a secret when people are after you, but I think in a way people hide just as much as they used to. It’s just in sight. Some of the topics that I was interested in were presentation and narrative and what version of you you present and what stories you tell people about who you are. I think people are curating more, people are controlling the way they are perceived in a very thoughtful way. It used to be less intentional.
Have you ever bumped into walls trying to get Becky from one lie to the next? The way she dips in and out of everything is so natural, but I imagine it wasn’t a simple web of lies to create.
What was really fun was trying to expand it in some way [the characters] and build it back to the beginning. Here are the lies she has to tell to get into the situation. Any of those lies that we can draw a conclusion for. So she says she knows Georgia the art dealer, well let’s bring Georgia in! And of course she will get into a situation because of a lie she told and she has to tell a new lie to cover up the old one. Seeing her try to get out of these situations under pressure is part of the suspense and fun of the story, but I also think it’s true how untenable lies are.
And it also makes it so breathless for the viewer.
As a viewer and reader, I’ve always experienced that someone trying to get out of a lie is one of the most tense things to watch. More than someone who is hunted! So I was hoping that would carry over to the audience. Even the way we shot it, you are with her and you experience it – the forces of danger are the person who comes to the party and knows it [Becky] is not who she says she is. It’s not a matter of life and death, but I think they should feel like life or death to me.
I wanted to talk a little bit about the relationships between the women on the show, specifically Becky and her mother. This was such a beautiful and nuanced portrayal of motherhood and daughterhood and all the complications that come with that relationship, especially when we have to care for our own parents or when complications arise. I wanted to know why it was so important to you to show this side of Becky’s life so vividly.
I think for me it’s who she is as a person. How we see ourselves has so much to do with our close relationship with our family. Her mother is her closest relationship, really, she’s the only person who really knows [Becky]. And her memory fades. I think that’s a really destabilizing place to find yourself. Another theme of the show is how identities are forged by the people we associate with. How our friendships define who was. Part of the reason she’s so fractured in her sense of identity is because she just doesn’t have anyone to ground her other than that one person who’s disappearing.
Connection and rejection are our greatest desires and our greatest fears in life. They’re two sides of the same coin, and you see them highlighted very strongly in Becky carrying that need and that fear at the same time.
That’s really true. She is desperate for connection and has an incredible fear of rejection. And they really are the same aspect of her character.
I wanted to talk to you a little bit more about the technical side of the show because the last three episodes have had these very tense moments with long silences where Becky finds herself alone in this big empty house. It felt deliberate to me and made Becky’s surroundings seem more isolated as a contrast to her delving deeper into this group of friends and their lies.
Absolutely. There’s a shot [from episode one] that we deliberately mirrored when [Becky] standing in front of Chloe and Eliott’s house, it looks so beautiful and wonderful. And by the end of episode three we kind of pull back and leave her there and we’re out there looking in at her. Then, of course, the house isn’t that appealing, wonderful place anymore – it gets a lot darker than that. She has this fantasy of [the house being] a place of connection and ultimately a place of isolation.
This is a limited series of just six episodes, in a time when we’re all designed to devour everything we love at once. But I also think so chloe works so well as a binge watch because you want to put your phone down, don’t want to look at Instagram and feel like you’re being watched. How did you imagine the audience?
If you have the time to sit down and watch it in one sitting, that’s great because it works like a story. But I often find that having a little extra time allows for isolating thoughts and engaging with something. When I’ve been able to do that, I’ve found that it’s a really great way to see. You kind of always come back into the world when you’ve had a little bit of time to sit down and think about everything. But I think both ways are great! Everyone who sees it is wonderful in my book.
It’s definitely a world that [people will be] inclined to come back. I think I’ll notice a lot more the second or even third time.
I think that [because of the intricate nature of the show], there are lots of easter eggs and stuff like that. Small parts, the meaning of which you would not understand at first sight. Nothing big… just small details. [Laughs].
And Erin is so amazing on the show.
The show rests on her. It would have been very, very difficult with a less talented actor than her. She doesn’t just pull it off, she sort of slides with it, and we were very lucky.
It feels like she’s a born liar.
But then you meet her and she’s this really nice person! So down to earth and you’re like, “You’re lying? Mmm…I don’t know!”
It felt incredibly natural to see this person lying, but when I talk to you, it doesn’t seem like you’re a big liar.
No! I’m really, really bad at that!
Maybe this is a way of living your dreams vicariously?
Exactly, it’s like if only.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/amazons-chloe-creator-on-how-to-make-the-most-horrifying-thriller-of-2022?source=articles&via=rss Amazon’s Chloe creator on the making of 2022’s most terrifying thriller