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Fresh: 7 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Hulu Horror Movie

Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones in Fresh
(Image credit: Fox Searchlight)

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Fresh throughout. We highly recommend that you stream the movie on Hulu before we cut into these juicy behind-the-scenes facts.

One of the main reasons why I believe that Fresh is one of the best new horror movies to come out this year (let alone one of the best new movie releases in 2022 in general) is that it is, truly, unlike any horror movie I've ever seen. The visually exquisite horror movie from a female director (it's the debut of Mimi Cave), at first, feels like a rom-com in which Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) believes she has finally found what she is looking for in Steve (Sebastian Stan), until his morbid true intentions are revealed, which caps the 30-minute cold open before the opening credits finally roll.

The story of how the Hulu horror movie came to be is also plenty unique, including the Winter Soldier actor’s sharp idea for filming his audition tape or the more professional means by which the film’s otherwise gruesome culinary delicacies were crafted. We shall reveal those secrets and more about Fresh with the following behind-the-scenes facts, starting with where this crazy story originated from.

Rich cannibals from Fresh

(Image credit: Hulu)

Fresh Writer Lauryn Kahn Was Inspired By A Darkness She Believes Surrounds The “Uber-Wealthy”

Assuming that you have already seen Fresh prior to reading this (and you certainly should), I suppose it is safe to mention that Sebastian Stan’s Steve turns out to be a cannibal and Daisy Edgar-Jones’ Noa is horrified to discover that she is next on the menu. However, Steve is not taking all of the meat for himself, but is also selling it to customers of similar taste and, most notably, exceptional wealth. Where those two lifestyles could potentially intersect in reality was what gave Lauryn Kahn the idea to write the film, as she revealed to The Wrap in the following quote:

I’m fascinated with the uber-wealthy and the darkness that is probably permeating around them of when you get to a certain wealth level….When you can have everything at your fingertips, what, at that point, is bringing you joy? What is bringing you happiness when you can literally have everything? And years ago, I’d heard a dark story about someone uber wealthy that stuck with me. I think that there’s a fascination with that and the idea of something bigger. It’s not just [Steve] doing this, but there are people involved, and it’s [a] network. And just with the dark web and the black market and cryptocurrency, and all of these nefarious things going on. God, I hope it doesn’t actually exist, but I’m sure some fucked up things do.

Sebastian Stan in Fresh

(Image credit: Hulu)

Sebastian Stan Danced With A Kitchen Knife In His Fresh Audition Video

To prove to Lauryn Kahn and the producers of Fresh that he was, indeed, the right person to play the uber-wealthy’s purveyor of forbidden foods, Sebastian Stan submitted a video (which he later shared to Instagram) of him dancing to Womack and Womack’s R&B ballad “Teardrops” with a gleaming kitchen knife in hand. A version of his macabre moves would actually make into the film for a scene in which Steve flips a woman’s severed leg around in rhythm to Animotion’s 1983 hit “Obsession.”

Sebastian Stan hovering with a charming smile in Fresh.

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Sebastian Stan Researched Serial Killers And Narcissists To Prepare For His Fresh Role

Outside of his dance moves, what sets Steve apart from other horror movie villains is an oddly charismatic and confident demeanor that initially causes Noa to fall for him at the beginning of Fresh. In an interview with Black Girl Nerds, Sebastian Stan explained that, to get in the appropriate mindset for his deceptively charming character, he studied narcissism and the psychological profiles of known serial killers, which led to a frightening conclusion that a characteristic these types of individuals tend to have in common is learning about others through revealing information about themselves. This is similar to the way Steve gets to know Noa, while secretly trying to decide if she is his kind of prey.

Daisy Edgar-Jones in Fresh

(Image credit: Hulu)

Lauryn Kahn Lifted The Dating Tips In Noa’s Magazine From Cosmopolitan

Much to Steve’s horror at the end of Fresh, Noa brilliantly turns the tables on him in a most gloriously shocking way and successfully escapes his secluded home with her best friend, Molly (Jojo T. Gibbs), and the previously unseen Penny (Andrea Bang). She achieves this victory by playing with her captor’s head and using advice from one of Steve’s previous captors that Noa finds written in a magazine with old-fashioned dating tips (such as “Smile more”) that also prove to be quite helpful. 

When speaking to reporter Preston Barta for Fresh Fiction, Lauryn Kahn revealed that this magazine’s Cosmopolitan-esque philosophies actually came directly from a real issue of Cosmopolitan.

Fresh meat

(Image credit: Hulu)

A Chef Was Hired To Specially Prepare The Meals Eaten In Fresh

Part of Noa’s psychological game against Steve involves feigning curiosity in his unusual appetite, which leads him to prepare a series of what might appear to be high-quality gourmet meals to the naked eye. However, when speaking to the hosts of CinemaBlend’s own ReelBlend podcast, Fresh director Mimi Cave revealed that she would have conversations with the production’s on-set chef about how they could give the meat a certain “grossness” while also keeping everything edible. For instance, chicken meat was often used to pose for human parts with beet juice added for blood.

Daisy Edgar-Jones in Fresh

(Image credit: Fox Searchlight)

Fresh Director Mimi Cave Was Involved In Making The Film’s Secretive Trailer

Another fascinating secret that Mimi Cave revealed during her ReelBlend interview revolved around the topic of keeping most of the darker plot details in Fresh a secret in the marketing - something that many studios tend to drop the ball on, believing it to be better for public interest. However, the filmmaker received the rare chance to be involved in crafting the movie’s trailer, for which she mentions she tried to “hide things…while still driving excitement.” She added that she had heard it is unusual for a director to have creative input on their own movie’s marketing, but had never experienced it before, being a first-time filmmaker, which makes this an even more stunning oddity.

Sebastian Stan and Daisy-Edgar Jones dancing in Fresh

(Image credit: Hulu)

Daisy Edgar-Jones’ Dress In The Final Act Was Steamed To Stay Wrinkle-Free On A Daily Basis

Speaking of oddities, Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones were asked by Collider if they had any particularly “surprising” behind-the-scenes trivia worth mentioning. Stan replied by revealing that the pink dress Daisy Edgar-Jones wears at the end of Fresh was steamed by the crew each day. The co-stars found the act of keeping the outfit wrinkle-free puzzling, considering the violence that takes place as she is wearing it.

Stan also mentions in that interview that he and Mimi Cave talked about the possibility of Noa’s dress becoming a popular Halloween costume some day. Considering the refreshing response to this horror film, I am willing to bet we will see a lot of women showing up at their local costume party wearing pink dresses with giant bows and converse sneakers. 

Jason Wiese
Jason Wiese

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.