By Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor
The White Lotus star Sydney Sweeney has described her relationship with Instagram as “the most unhealthy part of my life.”
The US actress, who first found fame opposite Zendaya in gritty teen drama Euphoria and plays privileged, prickly college student Olivia in the HBO drama about guests at a luxury resort in Hawaii, will soon be seen in the erotic thriller The Voyeurs.
The film follows a young couple, played by Sweeney and Justice Smith, who move into a high-rise apartment where they have an unobstructed view of the couple in the flat on the other side of the street and become obsessed with monitoring their every move.
Director Michael Mohan has described the film as a commentary on the rise of Instagram, and the culture of internet “stalking” it has enabled.
Discussing her approach to the social media platform, 23-year-old Sweeney, who has 3.4 million followers on Instagram, told the PA news agency: “It’s the most unhealthy part of my life. The fact that I am second guessing and having anxiety over posting a picture is sickening.”
Addressing how the film is an allegory for internet culture, she said: “I think no-one’s really dove into this topic before.
“I’ve never seen a movie, especially present day, explore the detrimental side of our society.
“Because you’re constantly comparing yourself to their lives, what they’re wearing, where they are, what they look like, and I think that’s something that Pippa (her character in the film) totally has a lot of problems with and she is comparing herself to across the window and the couple.”
Mohan continued: “I think we always think about the notion of the grass is greener, and I think in the last 10 years, it’s just gotten 10 times worse because now we have this app called Instagram, where at any moment, we can pull it out of our pocket and get this window into other people’s lives and make ourselves feel terrible by comparison.
“Even though we know what we’re seeing has been filtered, and FaceTuned (an app which airbrushes photographs) to present this complete non-reality, and still is deleterious to our mental health.
“With this movie, I just wanted to sort of delve into that question or why do we watch, what is compelling us to do this thing that we know is bad for us?
“The movie is an allegory so there aren’t any shots of cell phones and it’s a fun ride, whether you like it or not, but in my eyes, when you think about why we watch, it’s this bizarre cocktail of insecurity and repression.”
The Voyeurs will be released on Amazon Prime Video on September 10.