‘You’ star Elizabeth Lail spoke with HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about Joe and Beck’s twisted love story, why the story hasn’t changed her social media views, and more!
Your next TV obsession is a show all about obsession. You, based on Caroline Kepnes’ best-selling book, premieres Sept. 9 at 10 p.m. on Lifetime, and the show follows Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), a young man who goes to deadly lengths to be with Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail). In Joe’s quest to find out everything about Beck and manipulate his way into her life with the use of social media and more, his love quickly becomes an obsession.
HollywoodLife sat down EXCLUSIVELY with Elizabeth ahead of the premiere to talk about the show and important conversations regarding its subject matter. She revealed that we’ll get to see Beck’s side of things at some point in the series, which is important because the book is entirely in Joe’s point of view. Plus, she explains why you shouldn’t rush to judge Beck.
This show really explores the impact of social media and how accessible we are with it. Did this show change your perception of social media?
Elizabeth Lail: You know, you think it would. It didn’t really. I don’t like to live out of fear. I’m naturally an easy going person. Social media is something I’m not that connected to anyway. I don’t feel like I’m giving too much of myself on it or that it’s going to be a part of my life forever. I’m not that attached to it, and that’s remained about the same.
What was your first impression of Joe and Beck’s relationship?
Elizabeth Lail: Well, I understood why Beck was attracted to him, and it frustrated me because I thought in another world they would be really good for each other.
In TV, literature, and movies, there are some not-so good guys who people always root for. And there are some people who even root for Joe. Why do you think people are charmed by the bad guys sometimes?
Elizabeth Lail: I think we romance them, and Penn is always talking about how we’ll go to great lengths to justify a white man, and I think that really runs deep in our society. When they’re attractive, that doesn’t hurt. Honestly, it’s the big question. Why are we attracted to things that are bad? As a woman, Beck is attracted to men who are bad for her, and that stems from her relationship with her father and her self worth. It’s heartbreaking, but I think that’s true for many of us. We make poor decisions and are attracted to that.
Will we get to learn more about Beck in the show and her side of things?
Elizabeth Lail: The book is entirely in his [Joe’s] point of view. He’s the narrator, but he’s a very unreliable narrator, whereas the show kind of allows other voices to come in. I think it definitely helps you understand where each character is coming from. Especially Beck because people are often quick to call her innocent and naive, but that’s not actually true.
Beck’s POV could definitely change our perception a bit. Because she’s a bit of a mystery.
Elizabeth Lail: She is a bit of a mystery. At the same time, I think she’s very relatable, especially if you live in New York or you’re a young woman. A lot of her struggles are common.
Are there many changes from the book to the show?
Elizabeth Lail: I think that the show follows the book. There are some minor changes. They’ve added a character. It’s only things to enhance the television viewer’s experience.
How did you work out your chemistry with Penn knowing what kind of guy Joe is?
Elizabeth Lail: It helps that, for one, Beck doesn’t know. Beck is dealing with whatever comes her way as it comes. She doesn’t have the financial freedom to think into the future. She doesn’t know what her career is going to be. She’s open to see what guy’s at the bar. There’s not a whole lot of long-term thinking. She’s not really seeing him in that way, not until later as they get closer. It helps because Penn is a really incredible human being, outside of him playing Joe. He’s just a great person. We were very easily able to talk about things and create safe spaces even when creepy things are going on.
What message do you have for fans who may think Beck is being naive about the lengths Joe goes to be with her?
Elizabeth Lail: Well, honestly, if you look at any rom-com and the kind of moves those men are making on the women, we’ve been accepting them as normal for a long time. Like, the guy standing outside the window holding a music box was considered romantic. Beck also grew up where those kinds of movies somehow justified actually creepy acts or men who didn’t take no for an answer. Those things were considered OK, like that’s something you might want. To be chased. These are all things that literature and movies and our society perpetuates, and I think that has something to do with it.