Zoey Deutch on Influencers and Spending More Time Online

  • “Not Okay” star Zoey Deutch spoke to Insider about filming the new satirical film. 
  • Deutch recalled being “slaphappy” while filming the scene in which Danni and Mia sing “Complicated.”
  • The actress said that making this movie resulted in her spending “more time online.”

Zoey Deutch is breaking down the making of her new film “Not Okay,” from signing Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” to speaking with real-life canceled people — and sort of getting scammed by them.

“Not Okay,” written and directed by Quinn Shephard, stars Deutch as a lonely, misguided aspiring writer named Danni Sanders who works as a photo editor at a site called Depravity. She desperately wants to be loved, relevant, and noticed by her work crush Colin (Dylan O’Brien).

Danni’s wish becomes a reality when she fakes a trip to Paris for a writer’s retreat in the hopes of boosting her social-media popularity. When a series of terrorist attacks happen in the City of Lights around the time that she was believed to be in France, Danni rises to fame. As she keeps up the ruse, her lies spiral out of control.

Deutch told Insider that in preparing for her role in “Not Okay,” she didn’t have to do a lot of research on the pitfalls of social media and influencers, “because I consume so much of it all the time.”

“This movie is a satire and it’s sort of at times poking fun at a lot of different corners of our culture and I’m one of them,” Deutch, who’s been acting professional since 2010, added. “I am part of this. So it is by no means a takedown of anyone, it’s a commentary on a lot of things.”

Zoey Deutch as Danni in "Not Okay."

Zoey Deutch as Danni in “Not Okay.”

Nicole Rivelli/Searchlight Pictures

“I spoke to quite a lot of those canceled people,” Deutch said. “A lot of them scammed me and Quinn actually, funnily enough.”

For a scene later in the movie in which Danni attends a meeting for an online-shaming support group, the “Set It Up” actor said she and Shephard tried to find “people who had actually been canceled and who were willing and interested in poking fun at themselves and being a little bit self-aware.”

Deutch said every conversation seemed promising and it appeared like the people were keen on being in the movie.

But then Searchlight Pictures (the studio that produced “Not Okay”) notified them that the people were definitely not participating.  

“It was funny,” Deutch said. “We felt scammed by them. They lied to us.”

Zoey Deutch as Danni in "Not Okay."

Zoey Deutch as Danni in “Not Okay.”


One of the people that Deutch’s character befriends when she becomes popular is a teen advocate named Rowan (Mia Isaac). 

While en route to speak at a rally, Danni calms Rowan’s nerves by grabbing the aux and playing Lavigne’s “Complicated,” a defining pop-rock hit from the early 2000s.

In an interview with Insider on Wednesday, Shephard told Insider that there was a point when an Enya song was considered from the scene, but “Complicated” just made sense. 

“Avril is having another moment on TikTok. It’s the whole Y2K aesthetic coming back,” she said, adding that the track is “very funny for millennials to hear referred to as an ‘oldies’ song.”

“The lyrics of ‘Complicated’ are strangely relevant to the Dann-Rowan dynamic,” Shepard added.

Zoey Deutch as Danni and Mia Isaac as Rowan in "Not Okay."

Zoey Deutch as Danni and Mia Isaac as Rowan in “Not Okay.”


Deutch said that Isaac not being familiar with Lavigne’s song because she’s so young was “the first time I’ve truly felt old in my life.”

Deutch also recalled filming that scene during one of the hottest days in New York City in 2021. Because the air conditioning interferes with sound recording, they couldn’t keep cool while filming and the windows of the vehicle were up. 

“We were just slaphappy,” she said. “We were losing our minds. We had so much fun and we were sweating so much.”

Zoey Deutch as Danni in "Not Okay."

Zoey Deutch as Danni in “Not Okay.”


Rather than making Deutch more mindful and less present on social media, the actress said that “Not Okay” actually had the opposite effect. 

“Quinn and I both have confessed to each other that this movie has made us spend more time online as a result of wanting to stay on, understand what’s going on, and trends and this and that,” she said. “We’ve just spent more time online as a result of this movie. So, I think I’m due for a real cleanse and some readjusting of my social media intake.”

“Not Okay” is now streaming on Hulu.

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