Modern dating is often not for the faint of heart, from the mindless swiping on apps, the awkward small talk, to the texting of it all. And Noa hates it.
Following her latest dating app disaster, Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) crosses paths with a charming stranger, Steve (Sebastian Stan), who chats her up during a late evening of grocery shopping. Before he departs, Steve asks Noa for her phone number, and their fresh produce flirtation later turns into drinks, which quickly evolves into an unexpected, albeit exciting, new life development.
Despite her best friend Mollie’s (Jojo T. Gibbs) skepticism about her social media-less significant other, Noa agrees to go away on a trip with Steve for the weekend. A detour instead leads the pair to Steve’s house for the night, where their relationship begins to approach its expiration date when certain appetites are revealed.
Fresh boldly shines a spotlight on aspects of the female experience regarding safety that often go unnoticed while exploring the pitfalls surrounding modern dating. Directed by Mimi Cave (in her feature film debut), written by Lauryn Kahn (Ibiza), and produced by Adam McKay and Kevin Messick (Don’t Look Up), the richly detailed horror-thriller premiered in the Midnight section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival this past January and is now streaming on Hulu.
Previously, Edgar-Jones captured audiences in her star-making turn alongside Paul Mescal in the limited series Normal People, released in the spring of 2020 on Hulu. Her performance as Marianne garnered awards nominations from Critics Choice, the Golden Globes, and BAFTA TV.
Stan can most recently be seen opposite Lily James, as Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, in the limited series Pam & Tommy, released earlier this year on Hulu. While the actor has impressed in independent features I, Tonya (2017) and Endings, Beginnings (2019), he’s most known for his role as Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Stan reunited with MCU co-star Anthony Mackie for last year’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series on Disney+.
I had the opportunity to speak with Edgar-Jones and Stan on behalf of Art U News during a virtual roundtable interview about making the film, working with Cave, and what they hope audiences take away from their viewing experience.
The film’s premise is very meaty and ambitious—is that what drew you to these roles?
Daisy Edgar-Jones: I felt that when I read it, it was—yeah, ambitious was a word that I thought, too. You know, I think that I’d never read anything like it. I was kind of thinking, how on Earth are they going to strike this sort of tone—like, the balance of the tone—and how are they going to film it? I was really, really curious. So yeah, I think I was drawn to it because I hadn’t read anything like it before. And I thought, “What an opportunity to do something really different.” I knew it was going to be stylishly done, too, because I’d seen Mimi—our director—had made a sizzle reel. She had cut together a trailer for “Fresh” before we’d even started filming for inspiration. And I just thought it was so cool. So I knew it was going to be visually really interesting as well as, you know, the content being interesting too.
This film seems to be playing on some common movie tropes. How do you think each of your characters works to debunk viewers’ preconceived notions about these character tropes throughout the film?
Sebastian Stan: I think it’s just the beginning of the movie that plays against expectations. Our movie works a lot if you don’t know a lot going into it. I feel that it does start out one way, and it has these romantic comedy tendencies, and then halfway through, when the rug gets pulled, it sort of becomes another thing. But you don’t lose the beginning, and you don’t lose them as characters, and you don’t lose whatever that connection—that dynamic—was. You don’t lose it, and it continues. It almost doesn’t stop being a romantic comedy at times. It just becomes that, and this, and something else. I don’t feel like I’ve seen a lot of movies do that.