Erin Doherty Digs Deep to Find ‘Chloe’

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Erin Doherty did the impossible: she got hooked on social media, and then unhooked herself.

“Honestly, it took me some time,” says the British actress, the lead of Amazon’s new miniseries “Chloe,” a psychological thriller. “I found myself just reaching for my phone. It becomes a crutch when you are bored. It blew my mind how quickly it was to create that habit.”

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The 29-year-old actress, who admits she’s not a “huge presence on social media,” immersed herself in social media culture while preparing for “Chloe,” which was released earlier this year in the U.K. “I would wake up every morning and go on there and scroll for hours. And it’s crazy how easy it is to do that. It really scared me,” she says.

Doherty stars as Becky, a young woman who takes on a false identity after seeing that a childhood friend, Chloe, passed away. By following tags on her social media profile, Becky is able to strategically plant herself in Chloe’s friend group.

“I really related to that ability to just get sucked into an obsession, whether that be over a person or a thing or whatever,” Doherty says of her character’s fixation on her old friend.

“People were very much split about what Becky’s intentions were, whether she was a good person, whether she was crazy,” she adds. “That’s what I found so intriguing about Becky, but also about the series in general. I think every character in it is neither good nor bad. And I think that’s so true to life.”

Doherty, who previously starred as Princess Anne on “The Crown,” quickly clicked with series creator and director Alice Seabright when they first connected about the series. Doherty was in the middle of a COVID-19-era theater job when she booked the role.

“When the pandemic broke out I was focused on a lot of screen stuff, and then all of it collapsed. Some theater stuff came along and I was just so chuffed to be given the opportunity to go back into that world,” Doherty says. “We were supposed to do [the theater show] live, and I think we did two shows before we went back into another lockdown.” The production pivoted to streaming performances over Zoom. “There’s nothing quite like that,” she adds. “Nothing prepares you to walk out on stage and have an empty auditorium in front of you, but try to connect with the people that you knew were watching. It was so strange.”

Doherty is preparing to get back onstage — in front of live audiences — this fall in “The Crucible” at London’s National Theatre; she begins rehearsals in August. Although she knew of the classic drama from school, she’s never seen the work performed.

“Which I’m really grateful for. If you ever get a part on something that’s a reboot, you never want to watch what someone’s done because it’s so hard to detach from that,” she says, adding that she’s in the thick of diving into her character’s psyche. “Preparation is my favorite part of the job. You can literally just keep digging. You can keep trying to understand why people behave the way that they behave.”

Doherty also recently wrapped filming for the upcoming period horror film “Firebrand,” in which she stars as the English poet Anne Askew — her second time portraying a historic British Anne.

“Because of Princess Anne, I wasn’t that intimidated. If anything, I was like, ‘oh, this is great. I know what I’m doing here,’” she says of portraying a real person. “When you’re playing real people or you’re playing something that people already have a perception of, you have to scrap [that perception] immediately,” she adds. “I just had to do my homework, and then stop thinking about the fact that she was a real person.”

“Chloe” was warmly received in the U.K., which has taken some of the tension out of waiting for audiences to react to the Stateside release.

“If anything, my nerves are based on Becky, now that I’ve had that experience of people questioning her very early on and questioning her sanity,”  Doherty says. “I’m nervous and protective over Becky. I just want people to hold out because she means well. She really does.”

Erin Doherty - Credit: Courtesy of Joseph Sinclair
Erin Doherty - Credit: Courtesy of Joseph Sinclair

Courtesy of Joseph Sinclair

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