[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the finale of The Stranger, “Chapter 13.”]
If you weren’t able to attend the drive-in movie theater screening of Quibi’s The Stranger last week at the Americana in Glendale, California, we’ve got the next best thing for you right here! You can catch all 13 Chapters of the Veena Sud-directed series using the Quibi app and then watch the post-screening Q&A from the event right here on Collider.
The Stranger stars Maika Monroe as Clare, an aspiring writer who moves to Los Angeles to live her dream. Trouble is, while working as a rideshare driver, Clare winds up accepting a ride request from Carl E. (Dane DeHaan), a guy with no interest in getting to LAX, but rather to test a behavior-predicting algorithm that he thinks will turn him into a god of sorts.
So essentially, Sud made a series that taps into technophobia and she did so for a mobile-first platform. As Sud described during the Q&A, “That was the meta of it all!” And, it turns out, Sud was going to take the meta of it all even further with a release strategy that would, in a sense, bring Carl E. into the viewer’s world:
“I concede at one point, and we did not do it because we didn’t have the technology at the release date to do this, but there would be a point where the creepy kind of ringtone that you guys heard tonight from Dane’s phone that repeats itself over and over and over, we were gonna drop each episode on consecutive days starting at 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, and every time an episode dropped into your phone, you would hear a creepy ringtone. So, midseason at 2am, you’re asleep and ding, ding, here comes Dane’s ringtone. I was very curious; would people wake up? Would they watch the episode? It’s mid-season, big cliffhanger. Would they go to sleep? Would they dream about it?”
Even though this plan didn’t wind up working out for The Stranger, Sud did stress that there’s loads of potential for a concept like this to work with future series courtesy of Quibi being “a radically new way to watch story and to interact with story.
If you’d like to hear more from Sud, Monroe, DeHaan and Avan Jogia about their relationships with social media and technology, what they learned about real world algorithms, developing that epic big finish with the wolves and loads more, you can give the full Q&A a watch at the top of this article!
Veena Sud, Maika Monroe, Dane DeHaan & Avan Jogia:
- 00:32 – Sud discusses the genesis of The Stranger.
- 01:15 – Monroe talks about one of the most intimidating parts of the production.
- 02:30 – Did anyone rethink how they incorporate technology and social media in their lives after working on this?
- 04:07 – At one point, they considered a unique and creepy release strategy for each episode.
- 05:28 – Carl E. is the first bad guy DeHaan has played since his worldwide changed.
- 06:26 – DeHaan and Sud discuss researching real world algorithms that connect to Carl’s agenda.
- 08:37 – Jogia talks about JJ’s relationship with Clare.
- 10:30 – Sud discusses what inspired the big finish with the wolves.
- 11:26 – Monroe weighs in on where she thinks Clare is heading after the events of the series.
- 12:31 – Sud pinpoints some Easter eggs to keep an eye out for on a second viewing.
- 13:19 – The group highlights some unsung heroes from the crew of The Stranger.