Zoey Deutch is seen in the East Village on August 04, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)

Zoey Deutch‘s new satirical black dramedy Not Okay (written and directed by Quinn Shephard) highlights cancel culture, and the difference between who you are and who you pretend to be online. While Deutch plays the titular tone-deaf Danni Sanders in the Hulu Original, she knows far too well how social media became ingrained in her own daily life.

“It’s a weird sentence to say, but I only remember a time in my life where I also existed online,” Deutch told WWD. “I’m in a generation that had it at like 12, so it’s very much a part of my life. I have friends who are only like four years older than me and because they only got it when they were around 16, it’s not as ingrained in their brain. I think having it at 12 versus 16, or having it at 12 versus 18, is very different. They feel like it’s something that is forced, and they have to be convinced into posting — whereas it’s very much part of my life, for better or worse.”

The film opens with a warning about an “unlikable female protagonist.” Millennial e-monster Danni Sanders (Deutch), is a self-absorbed white woman without friends or a love life. Lonely and depressed, Danni is desperate for community, hungry for attention, and craves online fame.

A photo editor at a trendy digital culture magazine named Depravity, Danni wants to foray into the writing sphere, submitting an op-ed assignment, detailing how she regrets “missing out” on 9/11. A questionable case of FOMO, Sanders concocts a plan to Photoshop herself into a lavish Parisian trip for Instagram from her Brooklyn apartment. Pretending she was attending a writer’s retreat; Dani finds herself caught between a rock and a hard place when Paris undergoes a terrifying terrorist attack just after she’s posted an edited picture at the Arc de Triomphe. Instead of admitting she faked the trip, Dani lets the lie build, attending grief counseling, writing a click-worthy account of her fake trauma, and becoming the face of a cause.

Hoping to catch the eye of her “clout-chasing” coworker Colin (played by Dylan O’Brian), Shephard told Entertainment Weekly, “Colin definitely represents the worst of the internet that Danni so wants to be accepted by.” Danni swiftly gains the social relevance and admiration that she’s long-desired, before it all comes crashing down.

As for Danni’s character, Deutch said, “She is misguided, and she makes a lot of bad decisions, and I think she is a real product of her environment. And I think she is the smoke, not the fire. I think the part about her that makes her, in other people’s eyes, unlikable, is that she’s lacking self-awareness. So that was the quality of her that I was really tapping into. None of it is initially coming from malicious intent and it isn’t calculated. She’s not a sociopath. She’s just completely privileged, entitled and has no self-awareness.”

According to Shephard, “Danni is sort of a millennial Karen figure in that she’s constantly committing these microaggressions. She’s constantly commodifying and co-opting somebody else’s trauma, and she is exploiting Rowan (Mia Isaac), somebody who is a real activist using her platform for good, and she’s not even realizing that she’s doing it.”

Having just starred in The Outfit alongside O’Brien as well, Deutch has even more projects up her sleeve, including Something From Tiffany’s, from Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine. The holiday rom-com is set for a December 9 release.

Not Okay is now streaming now on Hulu.

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