As producer and star of Hulu’s “Not Okay,” Zoey Deutch tackles a contemporary phenomenon — the fraudulent internet celebrity — with humor and hard-hitting truths.
Deutch is Danni Sanders, a mostly clueless outsider whose complicated journey is the stuff of fairy tales — and nightmares.
Danni, Deutch, 27, said in a phone interview, “doesn’t have any friends. She is quite misguided and lonely and accidentally stumbled into a lie to impress the guy at work (Dylan O’Brien) by saying she has been invited on a writer’s retreat to Paris. When she is allegedly in Paris, a terrorist attack occurs and she lied and said she was there.
“It’s about the unraveling of that lie and the consequences of her actions. It’s about cancel culture,” Deutch noted. “It’s about privilege — and so much more.
“Look,” she said, “I found her to be fascinating. And it’s fun to play a character that has a big secret. It heightens the stakes in a major way when you know something that nobody else around you knows.”
Ultimately “Not Okay,” she emphasized, “is about someone who finally gets everything she wanted. And when it’s all taken away from her, she realizes everything was pretty great before it all.
“I think a lot of people can relate to that cycle of wanting more, wanting more. And then you get it — and it wasn’t actually what you wanted.
“All you wanted was a friend. All you wanted was a connection. Or what you wanted was love. It wasn’t money, it wasn’t fame, it wasn’t attention. That’s part of this story.
“Because at the end, she realizes the biggest failure, the biggest disappointment and pain of this whole experience isn’t that she was caught. It’s that she lost a real true friend that she made — and that is heartbreaking.
“By the way, I spoke to quite a few ‘cancelled millennials’ and it gave me a window into their psyche and gave me a less judgmental perspective on them.
“We’re all so quick to sit behind our computers and play God, deciding who is to live and die. Yet if it were us, we’d be saying, ‘Why aren’t they giving me a second chance?’
“Isn’t that what the human experience is — make mistakes and learn from them?”
That’s why Deutch believes even Danni might find a happy ending.
“I know there are some people who repeat mistakes and don’t deserve a second, third, fourth chance. I get that. But I believe in redemption, that we are capable of making mistakes and learning from them.”
“Not Okay” streams on Hulu.