That viral influencer and alleged scammer Caroline Calloway appears in Quinn Shephard’s hilarious internet satire “Not Okay” isn’t a surprise: The figuratively canceled Instagram personality (and literally canceled author) repeatedly touted her involvement in the Hulu film with tweets and retweets (of course!) for all manner of marketing materials, including the trailer that features Calloway appearing as, well, herself.
Given the subject matter of the film, it’s canny casting defined. Shephard’s sophomore outing follows wannabe influencer Danni Sanders (Zoey Deutch) as she lies her way into viral fame and must face the fallout of her own scam. Although not as well known as scammer brethren like Anna Delvey, Elizabeth Holmes, or Martin Shrekli, Calloway is infamous to a certain class of the very online who are also the kind of people who will enjoy Shephard’s (very smart) film. (Need a Calloway primer? This 2020 Guardian piece does that and more.)
“The idea initially was that the support group was full of people who had gotten online shamed and canceled,” Shephard told IndieWire during a recent interview. “Zoey and I made it our life’s mission to try to get as many cameos as possible in this scene. I can’t say who, but Zoey and I have FaceTimed with so many ‘canceled’ people who almost did this movie. It is insane the people whose numbers I have in my phone. We did so many calls. Somebody would love it, but then their rep would be like, ‘Absolutely not.’ Or we would write jokes for them: ‘What do you think of these?’ and they’d be like, ‘Ooh, I don’t know about that.’”
Shephard said Calloway was always top of mind. “It was always an idea to have Caroline in it, because right when I was writing the story, it was about to be the summer of scam,” Shephard said. “She also represents everything Danni wants to be, in that she is a writer but she’s also an influencer. That’s Danni’s mental mashup.”