Gia Coppola knows the secret to social media appeal: it’s whatever Andrew Garfield is eagerly throwing down in the filmmaker’s sophomore effort, “Mainstream.” The frenetic satire follows the former Spider-Man and Oscar nominee as the wildly obnoxious Link, a viral star whose entire life is about to be upended by his realization that what’s popular isn’t always what’s right.
“I knew this character needed to have an undertone of sweetness in order to follow him, but also Andrew is extremely intelligent and seemed to have similar interests on the subject matter, so he really became a collaborator,” Coppola told IndieWire. “I also loved the idea of seeing him play a type of character that’s different from what he usually gets type casted, [to] let him run wild and play.”
“Mainstream” also stars “Stranger Things” breakout Maya Hawke in her first major leading film role as Frankie, a bartender at a comedy club who is grieving the death of her father and lost within a world full of content and narcissism. Frankie has “cosmic run ins” with Link and is inspired to upload an anti-mainstream rant to the internet. The rant goes viral and turns Frankie, Link, and Frankie’s friend Jake (Nat Wolff) into internet stars, but their newfound fame attracts the eye of corporate villains (including Coppola’s cousin Jason Schwartzman).
The film originally premiered at the Venice International Film Festival last September 2020, where not all critics were kind to the movie. But this cautionary tale from Coppola, who showed a great deal of promise with “Palo Alto,” seems to be leaning into the debates it sparked. Out of Venice, critic Nicholas Barber cautioned that Andrew Garfield’s performance as Link easily makes him “one of the most obnoxious movie characters ever,” a pull quote that makes an amusing appearance in this latest teaser trailer.
Asked why she thinks the world of social media is so compelling, Coppola was succinct. “It’s designed that way!,” Coppola said. “But I’m particularly fascinated how it effects and shapes us as humans beings and as a collective.”
IFC Films will release “Mainstream” in select theaters and on digital platforms and VOD on Friday, May 7. Take a look at the newest teaser trailer for the film, available exclusively on IndieWire, below.