Bird Box briefly made Danielle MacDonald one of the most hated people in the world

Danielle MacDonald
Danielle MacDonald
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Bird Box, the post-apocalyptic horror thriller starring Sandra Bullock, was a sensation when it was released in 2018. It smashed viewership records, becoming the most-watched Netflix film ever until it was unseated by Red Notice. Today, it’s still the fourth most-watched Netflix movie of all time, with 157.4 million views, according to the streamer. Among its impressive stats is the fact that film is incredibly meme-able: a clip of Danielle MacDonald’s character Olympia running out of a window is a frequent favorite of stan Twitter, as The A.V. Club recently told the actor. But “I’m not on Twitter, so I didn’t really know that, to be honest,” MacDonald laughed.

But she does know that audiences had a strong reaction to Olympia. “So, Bird Box came out at the end of 2018. And I remember at the end of the year people had, like, ‘The Most Hated People of 2018,’ and it was my face next to Trump’s. I just remember that,” The Tourist actor said of social media posts. “And I was like, ‘Oh wow. People really, really hated my character.’ But it was really fun, I was like, ‘Hey, means you did a good job, people really responded to the movie.’ But I do remember that.”

Spoilers if you never got around to watching Bird Box, but “people hated my character because I let Tom Hollander in,” MacDonald explained. In the film, MacDonald and Bullock are part of a small group of survivors of an apocalypse wherein people are driven to suicide if they ever lay eyes on the mysterious entities that now haunt the world. Hollander’s character claims to have escaped another group of survivors who have gone insane from seeing the entities and now try to force others to look at the entities. Well, turns out, he was one of those insane guys, and he wreaks havoc on Bullock’s little found family, killing most of them.

Because MacDonald opened the door for Hollander, lots of viewers held a grudge against her, apparently. “[They’re] like, ‘You’re the reason he was able to murder everyone!’ I’m like, ‘Right, but I didn’t murder everyone.’ Yeah, people were very mad. Got a lot of hate for it!” She told The A.V. Club. “Oh, so many hate messages. Death threats, actually. I think they were fake, I hope, but yeah. And like, people on the street would come up to me and go like, ‘Oh, I hate you!’ And I was like, ‘Oh wow—right, right, because of the movie, because of the character.’”

As it happens, MacDonald also starred in the heartwarming young adult film Dumplin’, which Netflix released earlier the same month. “[So] I had people either seeing me and going ‘Ah!’ and hugging me because they were like, ‘That movie meant so much to me,’ or having people being like ‘Ah, I hate you!’ And I was like, ‘I feel like I’m in an alternate reality where I’m being torn in two opposite directions.’ And it was actually kind of crazy,” The Tourist star reminisced. “It was a wild time.”

MacDonald’s current series, The Tourist, is streaming now on Apple TV+.