Emily Meade On ‘Nerve,’ Caving Into Social Media, And Smartphone Addiction
“I was silently rebelling against it and refused to let that be a factor in my career”
The new techno thriller Nerve presents a version of reality that is disturbingly adjacent to ours, in which a person’s worth is judged by how many followers they have, and how those followers can make or break you. The plot revolves around Nerve, a hybrid of reality TV and location-based gaming that comes with the ominous tagline “Like truth or dare, without the truth,” which allows anyone to log in as a player or watcher for a 24-hour “game.” Players are guided by crowdsourced, financially rewarded dares that are provided by the watchers. As the game continues, those dares increase in intensity until only two players remain.
In the film, which is based on the popular YA novel of the same name, Emily Meade plays Sydney—best friend to Emma Roberts’ Vee—who takes the lead in the game, thanks to her propensity for exhibitionism and desire for validation. She’s willing to do anything the watchers throw at her and is on her way to the top until she challenges Vee to join. Pitted against one another, they’re later joined by Dave Franco’s Ian, who sets the story into overdrive. The darkness of the game is soon revealed, and players and watchers alike are forced to make some irrevocable choices. It all draws the question of how much of our humanity is sacrificed behind the anonymity of a username and a screen. We recently spoke with Meade—who is currently shooting the upcoming HBO period drama The Deuce—about the film’s depiction of youth culture, why she’s avoided social media, and how her smartphone ruined her dreams of being a detective.
‘Nerve’ Actress Emily Meade Talks Social Media and Her Own Worst Fears
The rising actress stars in a new film that highlights the price of fame in a world where social media rules all
In the culturally topical teen thriller Nerve, a viral video game of the same name greets every new user with the question: Are you a watcher or a player? Selecting “player” leads to prize money and potential Insta-fame, in exchange for performing live-streamed dares that would make even the most decorated Pokémon Go trainers look like wallflowers. In the film, Emily Meade (The Leftovers) plays Sydney, the best frenemy opposite Emma Roberts’s Vee, and a high-ranking player who vies to break the internet in a series of increasingly death-defying acts. But while her character has an insatiable thirst for followers, Meade breaks the watcher/player binary IRL: