New BBC thriller Chloe starts this weekend, and I'm super excited for everyone to see this addictive new show!
To find out more about the exciting new series, and to delve deeper into the story and its main characters, we caught up with several members of the spectacular ensemble cast.
Here's what they had to say about Chloe, and what we can expect from the series.
BuzzFeed UK: Hi guys! I wanted to start off by asking you to summarise the series in your own words for our readers.
Billy: Basically, my character's wife – Chloe – dies, and the main character – Becky – finds this out by means of social media. Becky sees a post online from Chloe which she finds quite mysterious. and it triggers alarm bells for her. Becky then decides to become involved in this group of friends who knew Chloe, adopting a new identity in order to become closer to them and find out more about Chloe’s death.
BuzzFeed UK: Sounds ominous! If you could compare it to anything to make it more tangible – a film or a TV show – what would that be?
Erin: I’m trying to rack my brains but I can’t think what it’s like.
Pippa: I think it's got its own voice.
Erin: Yeah, you’re right! There have been shows about social media and there have been shows about female friendships, but there’s something about the melting pot of Chloe that's totally unique.
BuzzFeed UK: What drew you all to the project in the first place?
Erin: I was sent the scripts in November 2020, and I was like yeah, I really wanna be a part of this. So I had a Zoom with Alice Seabright and we hit it off, and it went from there! To be honest, Alice was a major selling point for me. As soon as I saw her name on the script – I knew her from Sex Education, which I love – I was keen to do it.
Jack: Same really – it was the script and then getting to talk with Alice about how she saw these characters and how far in she wanted to go with them. I’ve always been quite attracted to the idea of creating a group of friends that you then dig into – that feels like interesting material to me because it’s stuff that we all know. We all know what it’s like to be in a group of friends and to have dynamic and secrets.
Billy: Yeah, I could tell Alice had done a lot of heavy lifting with these characters and this story for a long time, and that was exciting to me. Like Jack and Erin, I then had a chat with Alice and we really went into the characters' psychology. After that, I was gripped!
BuzzFeed UK: Were any of you aware of Alice Seabright before working on Chloe, and what was it like to work with her?
Pippa: I knew Alice's work from Sex Education, and getting to meet her, she’s just such a cool chick! Sometimes when you go into a job and you know the director has also written the script, you can feel a little worried that they’re not gonna let you take over, but she was so cool, wasn't she?
Jack: Absolutely! She struck me as one of those people who's overtly really smart and capable and exciting. It’s unusual that she hasn’t done that much, but I think this is gonna be her entry into the business!
Erin: Honestly, she didn’t disappoint! She’s such a collaborative director, which is quite rare in someone so young. She’s so trusting of her actors, and it was an amazing experience working with her.
"I'm terrified of social media! If it didn't have such a big impact on our jobs, I think I would stay away from it."
BuzzFeed UK: Let's talk about social media, because it seems to be a big part of what drives Becky to do what does in the show. What are your thoughts on the way we use social media as a society?
Erin: I'm terrified of social media! If it didn’t have such a big impact on our jobs, I think I would stay away from it. I’ve had to find a balance, and that's so much easier said than done. So many of those platforms are programmed to fire off things in your brain that make you need to go back – it’s an addiction and that terrifies me. I guess that was my biggest impulse to be involved in this show because I'd never really seen that portrayed in the extreme actions that Becky takes.
Pippa: I think that Instagram runs the world – it’s the first thing that people check in the morning – and then Twitter is where people get their news. The reach that these platforms have is extraordinary; they keep the world moving, they dictate trends, and give us news. It's been interesting to see this thing explode in our faces but I also feel deeply uncomfortable about it.
BuzzFeed UK: Erin, what kind of journey does Becky go on in the series?
Erin: Well without revealing too much, she essentially infiltrates this woman's life and becomes a part of her social circle. She's trying to piece together what happened to Chloe, but she also gets sucked into their way of life, which is another really important thing because as Pip says, that whole circle is very much Instagram oriented. Becky gets very swept up in that, so you're watching her battle herself whilst also trying to focus on what she's there for.
Pippa: That’s the brilliance of the show because we've all been there when we were younger trying to fit in, and wanting to roll with the cool kids, so this show taps into those memories.
BuzzFeed UK: Was it tricky to play all of the different personas that Becky inhabits so confidently?
Erin: As an actor, it's kind of second nature. I mean, it may not seem like it now because I’ve got my interview hat on, but naturally I’m quite an introvert. However, when you're going up for a part, you kind of have to walk into a room like you deserve to be there and like you know what you’re talking about. You do homework, of course, but there’s an amount of blagging involved! So I used that very actorly skill and it really helped with this role.
BuzzFeed UK: What about Elliot, what kind of journey does he go on?
Billy: We meet him just after his lowest ebb. The immediate shock of having lost a person he loves has just passed, I guess. I personally feel that all the stages of grief are conflated and they happen simultaneously, and so it's hard to pinpoint where Elliot is emotionally. We also meet him at this point where his political career is on the ascendant, so that's really interesting too.
There is this dinner scene in which he shares some information about his career and sort of asks his friends for their approval, which reinforces this idea that this friendship group are like the pinnacle for him. He's still susceptible and exposed though – grief does that to people – and there's a big void in his life now. Once he meets Erin's character, he kind of becomes besotted with her in a knee-jerk way.
BuzzFeed UK: How was working on Chloe different from the previous projects you've all worked on?
Jack: Well, Covid doesn’t help when you’re trying to create a group of friends who hang out all the time and know each other really well! This is a very character-driven piece, and for me it felt like their was more work to be done on the psychology of the group and their dynamics. I guess I’ve done stuff like that before, but this felt very rich and deep and character-driven.
Pippa: It also felt like a family on this job! We all got on really well cocooned in Bristol in a little bubble, and coming to work it was so freeing. I mean, Alice Seabright is so generous and would allow us to almost do what we wanted to do. Not saying you don’t have that on other shows, but this just felt like a big warm woolly jumper.
Erin: That's so true! I’m such a mad lover of theatre because you get so close to your colleagues – you’re there every day making this thing, and this was the first time I felt like you could have that experience on a set. The Crown was such a massive show that it felt like I was walking into a machine, essentially. It had such gorgeous heart because of the people working on it, but it was still this massive show, and I did feel a little out of my depth. Whereas this felt like I was part of a family with no hierarchy.
BuzzFeed UK: Was there anything or anyone that particularly inspired your performances?
Pippa: I went to school with quite a few girls who are like Livia, so I know these girls and I suppose I channeled a bit of their energy into her.
Erin: It's so off, but when I saw Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler – there was something about his character and the way he was able to make you question what he was doing but also root for him. That really influenced me! His ability to lure an audience in to see your perspective, but also allow them to be appalled by his behaviour, that was something I tried to channel in Becky.
"I saw Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler – there was something about his character and the way he was able to make you question what he was doing but also root for him. That really influenced me!"
BuzzFeed UK: Do you have a favourite scene or moment from the show you can share with us?
Jack: I had some really lovely and difficult – but nonetheless rewarding – one on one stuff with Erin, which I loved.
Billy: There are some great moments between Elliot and Becky/Sasha where I remember thinking it was suddenly okay to relax, and that it didn’t feel like we were making a TV show. I could just immerse myself in this thing and play with this other actor, Erin, who is astonishing. There was a particular moment where people were at the front door, and Elliot and Sasha are sitting on the sofa together… That sticks in my mind!
Erin: Aww, guys! It's difficult, but for selfish reasons, I would say day one of working with Pip.
Pippa: Same! The yoga scene, right?
Erin: Yes! We'd done some costume fittings and so we had met, but this was our first day together on set and I just instinctively felt like I was really gonna enjoy myself on this show. With everyone, really! It's like catching lightning in a bottle when you work with someone and you click; I'd never experienced it before and it was so special.
BuzzFeed UK: Finally, what do you people will take away from the series?
Pippa: I'd like people to take away that social media isn’t always happy smiling unicorns all the time – there’s a dark side to it. I also hope people enjoy the portrayal of a female friendship and how important it is. Our friendship on screen isn’t always plain sailing, but there are some lovely moments. I think it’s a really honest portrayal and it should be celebrated!
Erin: Hopefully, it will just kind of suggest that social media may need to take a little shift in terms of its importance of some people’s lives. Also – without getting cheesy – a lot of Chloe is about people and loneliness and isolation, so I hope it will ring true with people and encourage everyone to check with others. Otherwise, you could become like Becky!
Note: Some answers were edited for length and/or clarity.