"The Voyeurs" actors

Sydney Sweeney (left) and Justice Smith star in “The Voyeurs.”

Be careful what you look for.

In Michael Mohan’s erotic thriller “The Voyeurs,” which premiered last week on Amazon Prime, Sydney Sweeney stars as Pippa who, along with boyfriend Thomas (Justice Smith), finds herself pulling a “Rear Window” and peering into the window of the couple across the way, to unforeseen consequences.

“I just kept going through this crazy roller coaster of my own mental process, but then also through what Pippa goes through and as an actor, you just want to sink your teeth into [that] and really fully go to every place that they go to,” said Sydney, 23.

The “Euphoria” star was also drawn to the film by writer-director Mohan, who co-created the Netflix series, “Everything Sucks!” on which Sweeney played Emaline.

“I adore [Mohan] and his entire team and being able to work with him again ... was like a full circle kind of experience,” said the “White Lotus” actress.

CHARACTER BOOK

Sweeney got to know Pippa the way she does all her characters: she built a character book, in which she aims to “truly build a person as if it’s a real living being.”

The books, she said, include “everything ... that you could possibly imagine. And it’s hundreds of pages of diary from Pippa’s point of view, a visual mood board of what her house growing up looked like. It’s just a smorgasbord of anything and everything that creates a person.”

The “Sharp Objects” actress even constructs a timeline of milestones and impactful moments in her character’s life, as well as what occurred in the world during the time in which the character lives.


“Then I take it from there and I kind of work backwards,” said Sweeney.

But Pippa was, in some ways, more relatable to the actress than other roles.

“For the first time, I kind of put a lot of Syd in her,” explained Sweeney. “I don’t put any, like, Sydney memories in it, but Sydney quirks and mannerisms ended up coming through with Pippa.”

Part of that was helped along by co-star Smith, who Sweeney said “brought out a lot of my goofiness” which she then “just dove into.”

SOCIAL MEDIA PERILS

The film’s apparent commentary on the perils of social media hones in on the misguided nature of assuming the grass is always greener and that we know what goes on behind closed doors.

Looking in on the couple’s (played by Ben Hardy and Natasha Liu Bordizzo) life in turn “has sparked a curiosity that she has hidden for a really long time inside herself. Seeing this couple across the way ... it’s coming to surface and she can’t stop thinking about it,” said Sweeney.

While this film and the cautionary tales central to it might not ultimately have changed the way Sweeney interacts on, say, Instagram — where she boasts 3.5 million followers — it has affected the way she views social media.

“I definitely look at it as more of a window into my life that I can control and can’t control in different aspects,” said Sweeney, who views Pippa as embodying repression and Thomas as insecurity.

“Those are the kind of people that peer into these other lives and become consumed and obsessed,” said Sweeney. “And I think that’s a lot of us with social media, of how we compare ourselves.”

Copyright 2021 Tribune Content Agency.

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