Not Okay's Zoey Deutch and Dylan O'Brien on film's 'unpredictable' TikTok success

Not Okay's stars Zoey Deutch and Dylan O'Brien chat with Yahoo Lifestyle about the film, their transformations, their love/hate relationship with social media and their 'unpredictable' TikTok success. Not Okay is out on Disney + on July 29, 2022.

Video transcript

- Congratulations guys on the film.

ZOEY DEUTCH: Thank you.

- And just genuinely great careers. Amazing.


What drew you--


What drew you both to the film and your characters?

ZOEY DEUTCH: Well, I-- I'm very grateful to Quinn that she brought this to me and wanted me to be involved on a deeper level, like to produce it with her and to be her partner in this, which I very much felt we were in every kind of, you know, in the beginning, and during, and then the after. It's been very like-- we've had each other's backs in that way which has been cool. And the story, there just felt like-- it just felt topical, and important, and discussing a lot of things that I found myself talking about in my own personal life.

the character, I found a theme that I really like to play scammers. So I think this is my last scammer for a minute. It's my, like, fifth scammer. I don't know what that is. It's probably like a subconscious reaction to not wanting to play, like, one dimensional female characters and male-driven blank. But I loved playing her. And I'm very grateful. Dylan?

- And you made her likable, so that's amazing.


DYLAN O'BRIEN: Yeah. See? Yeah, I thought-- I completely agree. You make it easy to sympathize with, like, how she ended up here, you know. Yeah, it's such a-- it's such an amazing performance by you Zoey. It's crazy. I remember I was like, peppering you with text while I was, like, watching the movie for the first time. But I never-- I don't think I ever even said it to you in person or on the phone. We got on the phone. Yeah, let's get to different questions because I'll just ramble about the same stuff like love Zoey

- Well.

DYLAN O'BRIEN: Keep it positive, love the character. I love the whole thing. That's why I would do.

- Well, TikTok was obsessed with your look for the film, Dylan. Did you enjoy undergoing that transformation with the blonde hair, and the tats, and everything?

DYLAN O'BRIEN: Yeah I loved it. I loved it. It was so much fun. And it was exactly, sort of, like how I wanted to come in and like-- and, you know, the character. So it was cool to, like, be allowed to do that and then also have it all done for me too. And it just makes it really easy to, you know, to then, sort of, buy myself as that guy, too, you know. It's hugely helpful.

- And I don't know if you guys are allowed to say but did you take any inspiration from any celebrities, or influences, and things?

ZOEY DEUTCH: I think for, I mean, for Danny's wardrobe, we were-- Quinn and I found the hair and the nails from just being on TikTok all the time. And we stole those from just a bunch of accounts. And then clothing-wise, TikTok and, like, definitely Carlson, Bella Hadid, like that vibe. And obviously, this was shot a year ago. So like it's a drastically different trend than it is now. But it's supposed to be like, you know, a cap, a moment in time, right?

- And like the film shows quite a dark side of social media. Zoey, what's your relationship like with social media, because I know that you're quite active on Instagram?

ZOEY DEUTCH: Look, I think it's a tool that can be used for good or evil. I, certainly-- I love-- one of my favorite things in the world is to take photos, always has been. I've always shot film I've always really loved it. It's been very-- it's been a really satisfying creative outlet for me and I-- and a gift to give to people that I love, like I love to take pictures of my friends and give it to them.

And they, you know, and they love them. That makes me feel really good, to make them-- to be able to show people how I see them, you know, which is, like, beautiful, and interesting, and cinematic. And I think that's really fun for me. And I get to use Instagram as, like, I can sometimes put my photographs on there. So that's cool. But it also is a horrible dark hellhole of--


Pain and suffering.

- Yeah, a little bit. Dylan, you kind of got your start on YouTube. How has your relationship with social media evolve, because you're on Twitter. But is that your only platform?

DYLAN O'BRIEN: It is. I still, technically, have my YouTube channel, I think. But, I mean, like, you know, the whole thing has changed so much, you know. Like when I had my videos on YouTube, you know, I had, like, 500 subscribers. And it's not like, you know, that's what changed my life. I, in a very lucky way, had someone just show like a manager, one of them, one time. And then that became, like, my way in or to have the opportunity to go on auditions.

But it's actually so crazy to think about how dated those things even seem, like, now that it's just all gone so fast. It's all changed so quickly. Like first generation YouTube just seems-- it seems so crazy that I was, like, 14 years old. When someone first was just like, have you heard of YouTube? And I, like, literally, uttered the words like, what's YouTube? And then, like, being like, whoa, how cool, like, a content sharing platform, you know.


Which became our lives like really not soon, like, really not that long after the birth of it. So yeah, it's really interesting. My relationship to it has always been, you know, I think it's really cool. I think, again it's like, it's so similar to what Zoey said. Obviously, I think all of these things can be like really, really amazing tools. And in general, it's like a good thing.

Obviously, like, negative things can come out of them as well. But yeah, I mean, I don't know. I always thought, like, it was really cool when there was a place that I saw where you could, like, share your little videos that you made with your friends, or your like, cousins, or like my sister, or my dad. or whatever and have people like see it, you know. I thought was just cool to me.

And then-- and I'm just watching like things that other people are creating. It's like, it's such a cool, sort of like, you know, cycle of, like, inspiration going on. I remember like watching Bo Burnham like do the same exact thing like in his room in Massachusetts, you know, stacking up this camera on books when he was 16 years old. And I was like a 15-year-old sophomore in high school just being like, wow, this guy is like so mind blowingly, like, inspiring. I'm obsessed with it, you know what I mean? And so that aspect of it. I think. Is where it originated for / and? I still think, at the core, is like a really cool piece of it.

- And do you ever get used to it, because on TikTok, there are lots of thirsty videos and comments and things. Do you ever get used to that? Is that why you, maybe, aren't on TikTok?

DYLAN O'BRIEN: Used to it, how?

- I don't know. I don't know if you can ever get used to people making, like, these videos about you.

DYLAN O'BRIEN: What are they?

- Just lots of like quick cuts of just you looking good.


DYLAN O'BRIEN: It's funny because I think-- I don't think I could do a thirst trap if I fucking try, You know what mean, like, I can't do it.

Maybe Colin could. You guys were all over TikTok in the, you know, process of making the film. Is it cool to have an in-built audience already?

ZOEY DEUTCH: I mean, that was the, sort of, Quinn and I, early on, wanted to experiment. It was an experiment, honestly. And we were really grateful that Searchlight supported us and, sort of, let us go this route because it's very unconventional. You know, the protocol while shooting a movie is generally like no social media, because you don't want to reveal any plot points, outfits, anything.

- True.

ZOEY DEUTCH: You want to just keep everything tight lipped until, like, first look picture. And you know, there's a very traditional trajectory that movies go. And because this movie was about a lot about social media and about, you know, we were curious if we did this sort of meta-verse thing of showing the making of and the character and give people seeds of this story, would it work? And would people be interested? And they were. And it was what was one of the things that was very interesting too is how interested people were without actually knowing what it's about too.

And so it was an experiment that went well. And I think--

- Excited

ZOEY DEUTCH: And again, I was very grateful to Searchlight for having our backs and letting us do that.

DYLAN O'BRIEN: It's a really cool idea. Like, when you first told me about that idea, Zoey, like, I remember just being like, oh, that's like the meta aspect of like promoting the film in ways that are literally thematically like exactly what the movie's about, you know, using that tool and displaying how powerful it can be. And I mean, did you end up actually use, like, using real responses and comments like in the movie like from our initial, like, drafts on TikTok?

ZOEY DEUTCH: Oh, I don't know. I mean, we did for like the trailers and stuff. Like, we use real comments for, like, you know, like, when are we getting the trailer? When we get the trail-- you know, that stuff. I remember being like, let's use all the actual real comments and, like, use the amount of, like, followers we have and likes. We have 10 million likes. And we have 300,000 followers, you know. Like let's use that stuff as-- but yeah.

The TikTok thing I mean, no one could have ever predicted what happened with Dylan's TikTok, with his hair TikTok.

- I know.

ZOEY DEUTCH: Really, it was-- it was hilarious. I can't believe how many people watched that.

- A lot of people reposting it, too.

DYLAN O'BRIEN: That's, I think, it's just going to be, you know, I think people are going to be really surprised, like, what the movie--

- Is about.

DYLAN O'BRIEN: Or, like, actually is about versus what's, sort of, been out there about it.

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