Adrian Grenier mines social media morass for ‘Clickbait’

For Adrian Grenier, his “Clickbait” role of a kidnapped husband who becomes a viral sensation was irresistible.

He calls the script “fantastic! A lot of these thrillers don’t have as much depth as this one has. Just the story’s twists and the turns is one thing,” Grenier, 45, explained in a Zoom interview.

“But it has many more layers — because of the nature of media. It’s really about the convergence of technology and thrillers.”

Married with two sons, Grenier’s Nick Brewster suddenly disappears — only to be revealed grim, bruised and beaten online. He holds a sign, “I abuse women.” Once the site has 5 million hits, Nick dies.


Each episode views Nick from another perspective — his wife, son, sister, the detective, reporter. Suddenly women appear, claiming to be his lovers. What’s happening exactly? Who’s behind this? Who, “Clickbait” asks, is the real Nick?

“These are lessons we as a society are dealing with,” Grenier said. “How do we relate with one another — when there’s so much deception through the tools we use?

“There was a time when people would say, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ Now, even if you see it, you don’t necessarily believe it. Social media now requires a little bit more temperance on our parts as humans before we jump to conclusions.

“The media landscape has become so tricky and full of pitfalls. We all create it, we all consume it. So it’s nobody’s fault. We’re all complicit.

“We all have,” he added, “an opportunity to be mindful of what we’re watching and what we’re building.”

As a celebrity, Grenier has lived social media’s dramatic rise. “There was a time when,” he said, “the gatekeepers got to decide who was famous and who wasn’t. Now anyone’s famous with one click of a button. So fame has been democratized. Communications have been given to the masses.

“Because of that, there’s a lot of a lot of potential for drawbacks. But I see it as a wildly exciting time.”

The virtual world on view in “Clickbait” sees everyone’s privacy invaded, reality an illusion. Where you don’t have any idea who your online confidant really is.

“It is a thriller after all,” Grenier noted. “If you sit down and don’t know you’re watching something that’s going to scare the bejeezus out of you, then you should turn the channel.

“But if you want a thriller with all the twists and turns, watch.”

(“Clickbait” is now streaming on Netflix.)

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