Erin Doherty knows you might not understand Becky Green, the character she plays in the psychological thriller Chloe. When the series premiered to rave reviews in the U.K. in February, “a lot of people were questioning her choices and motives,” Doherty says. “But I’ve never found her behavior odd. I’ve always really understood the ease that an obsession can take hold of someone.”
That obsession is ripe in Becky, who obsessively stalks her childhood friend—the titular Chloe—over social media. When tragedy strikes, Becky ultimately inhabits a made-up persona, infiltrating Chloe’s life, relationships, and even her king-size bed. The six-part series premieres worldwide June 24 on Amazon Prime, and is created, cowritten, and codirected by Alice Seabright (Sex Education), who also serves as an executive producer. Billy Howle, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Jack Farthing, and Brandon Micheal Hall appear in supporting roles.
“I was very interested in writing about someone who uses personas as a way of covering up for deep insecurities and self-loathing,” says Seabright, who was eager to give Doherty a starring role after seeing her play Princess Anne on The Crown. “Erin as Princess Anne is a completely different person from who she is in real life. It’s a different voice and energy. There’s something very chameleonic about her.”
Doherty, in turn, was sent the script in November and felt an instant connection to the role, “word-vomiting” her love of the character to Seabright over Zoom. “Becky is constantly having to remold herself for other people, and it becomes her super power,” says Doherty. “That’s what I relate to. Maybe that’s why I’m an actor—I really love trying on different things.”
Seabright was inspired by The Talented Mr. Ripley and Rebecca, while Doherty watched and rewatched Nightcrawler to help get into character. “Jake Gyllenhaal’s character does some pretty horrendous things in that film, but he makes you feel that you are viewing society with him through this weird alien lens,” says Doherty. “I wanted to try to explore that with Becky. She makes these choices, but they are completely valid to her.” Seabright is aware that Becky’s character might test viewers at times. “Most of what Becky does is not okay,” she says. “Sometimes we get into that slightly dangerous territory of challenging the audience’s sympathies. But there’s a core of the character that I find really relatable. She’s yearning for connection, but is afraid to show herself.”
Despite the through line of social media in Chloe, both Doherty and Seabright are personally allergic to the world of hashtags and influencers. In prepping for the role, Doherty spent every morning and night scrolling through the dregs of social media, and realized that it made her feel depressed. Doherty tries not to use social media; Seabright is no longer on it at all. “It can feed some of our worst instincts,” says Seabright. “You know it’s based on what we’re all trying to project, but it can still affect you, even though you know it’s fiction.”
Chloe’s eerie realism sticks around until the final credits roll. No spoilers here, but don’t expect all the loose ends to be tied up with a bow. “In life, you don’t always get the answers for everything,” says Seabright. “I don’t like neat endings. I don’t find the world to be neat.”
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