Love is more than what meets the eye, right?
A Searchlight’s new Hulu thriller, Fresh, offers insights into all the wrongs that can go wrong with dating after a woman named Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) ditches the nuance that comes with dating apps and finds herself stumbling upon a newfound potential lover (Sebastian Stan) during a grocery store run.
The film explores the thin line that the state of the world is when it comes to the dangers, or safety, of dating in the era of social media and the Internet.
“With people who are more Gen Z, it’s funny how meeting someone in person is almost a red flag, whereas it’s the opposite for Gen X,” said director Mimi Cave to S&A. “I kind of like that we were playing with both in the film, but honestly, I think it’s just about making sure that you’re taking care of and watching out for your friends in a lot of ways and making sure that, even though it might seem stupid, the ability to track your friends via your iPhone can actually be safer in moments like this. Our film is not a cautionary tale by any means, I think that we all very much feel that love is real and alive.”
In this case, the film explores the worst-case scenario that could happen when going on what seems like the dream weekend with that dream potential date, but as Cave alludes, it is important to have friends who aren’t afraid to check things out that seem fishy in this new potential landscape.
Dayo Okeniyi serves as one of those friends through Paul, whom he refers to as “a cool bartender that doesn’t want any smoke.”
Despite the fact that he portrays a peripheral character, Okenyi understands the significance that his role provides for representation in the horror space which is traditionally met with Black characters who die within the first few minutes of a film.
“If you look at the history of people of color and horror movies, we’re usually dead in the first fifteen minutes,” Okeniyi told us.
“I love the fact that he knew his place in the story and was like, ‘no,’” he continued, explaining the ins and outs of how his character’s presence in the film may be purifying for those watching.
“I think it’s such a cathartic experience [to] watch a movie with a Black guy that doesn’t die,” he continued. “It’s one of those things where like, you get to that moment and you want him to help the ladies and save the day, but at the same time, you don’t want him to die or get hurt and I just feel like this film is true to all of the guys that I know who are like Paul, who will find themselves in a situation and be like, ‘you know what, I’m out of here, I’ll be back tomorrow.’”
Much like Cave mentioned, Okeniyi says Fresh will offer a unique perspective to the ins and outs of dating in this day and age.
“This project was amazing, it’s really an exploration of the heightened exploration of the everyday dynamics of social relationships and dating,” Okeniyi shared.
“Paul’s character is more of a meta character,” the actor expressed. “He’s more of a character that speaks to the tropes of filmmaking and our expectations and how we think things are supposed to play out, as opposed to how things actually play out in the world.”
Fresh is now available for streaming on Hulu.
Watch the full interviews below: