Beneath the Surface of Madelyn Cline

The show was released in April 2020, and people were quick to use their abundance of free time to go through the adventurous series at lightning speed. (I was one of them.) Almost overnight, Cline and her co-stars were all over the internet. Scenes quickly became TikTok sounds, “ships” were immediately cast, and fan pages started coming out of the woodwork. “When it came out, it felt like it was everywhere,” Cline says. “I remember I was on my own Instagram discovery page. I was seeing tagged posts of Outer Banks, and I was like, ‘Fuck!’ and just kept clicking on ‘not interested.’ This is too much. Let me clear my feed real quick. It was a little polarizing for a second and a little overwhelming.” Cline doesn’t hold back on how surreal the experience was, adding, “We [the cast] were pushed together, and we were like, ‘Holy shit, we’re on a Netflix show.’”

Cline has, no doubt, claimed fame for her Outer Banks role, but this past fall, the stakes were raised even higher. The actress is now facing a momentous shift in her career after joining the cast of Glass Onion. Inevitably, there will be doubts about sequels, but the second installment of Rian Johnson’s whodunit franchise quickly broke records. With its weeklong theatrical release, it smashed the box-office record for a Netflix pre-streaming movie, earning $13.3 million in the first five days. For Cline, the essence of the film lies in escapism. This idea of escapism is a theme that shows up multiple times throughout our conversation, mostly because that’s how her younger self fell in love with storytelling. She tells me fondly about how she used to skip homework to watch The Vampire Diaries, dive into books, and post about her character obsessions on one of her several Tumblr fan accounts. With immense gratitude in her voice, she tells me what her role has meant to her: “I found it to be cathartic because it was [the] kind of story that I know I would’ve been obsessed with as a teenager.”

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