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The meaning behind Blake Lively’s cryptic (and creepy) Instagram post

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Kayleigh Dray
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LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 26: Actor Blake Lively attends CinemaCon 2018 Lionsgate Invites You to An Exclusive Presentation Highlighting Its 2018 Summer and Beyond at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, on April 26, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for CinemaCon)

Anyone up for a little game of hangman?

Earlier this week, Blake Lively deleted every single photo on her Instagram account.

She also edited her profile (which is followed by over 20.4 million followers) to ensure that it now only follows 24 people, all of whom are women named ‘Emily Nelson’.

So far, so creepy. However, things took a turn for the even more unsettling yesterday evening, when Lively decided to treat her confused fans to a little game of Hangman.

The first image saw Lively’s pen poised over a row of our dashes, followed by another eight, two and five. Naturally, fans soon flooded her social media account with their own guesses for the four words – nearly all of which revolved around a pregnancy announcement (because what other news-worthy announcement would a woman in the public eye have to share, eh?).

“Baby Reynolds on board,” hazarded one.

Another added: “Baby Reynolds no. three.”

And a third, who clearly can’t count, guessed: “Baby Reynolds is coming.”

Can you guess the answer?

Bored of their fruitless attempts, Lively filled in one of the blanks herself – and, in doing so, revealed that the first letter of the first word was a ‘W’.

Eventually (and not before a stick figure had been hanged), Lively revealed the phrase in full: “What happened to Emily”.

As in, yes, the same single, solitary and overwhelmingly creepy sentence that emblazons her IG profile.

What happened to Emily?

What happened to Emily?

So what gives?

Well it seems the Instagram purge (and games) are all part of a viral campaign ahead of Lively’s upcoming thriller, A Simple Favour, which sees the actress star opposite Anna Kendrick and Linda Cardellini.

The film is based on Darcey Bell’s debut novel of the same name, which Amazon describes as “a feverish and expertly plotted tale of psychological suspense – a twisting free fall filled with betrayals and reversals, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge.”

Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, the story centres on the life of Stephanie (Kendrick) – a widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut. Once day, her best friend Emily Nelson (Lively, obviously) asks her to pick up her son after school, and Stephanie all too readily obliges.

Emily, though, disappears that very same day. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. She doesn’t return to pick up her son. And it’s not long before a terrified Stephanie reaches out to her blog readers for help in tracking down her missing friend.

As revelations come to light, though, she soon learns that nothing – not friendship, love nor even an ordinary favour – is ever as simple as it seems.

Directed by Paul Feig, the man behind 2011’s comedic highlight Bridesmaids and 2016’s female-led Ghostbusters reboot, it sounds like this movie –scheduled for UK release in September 2018 – is definitely one to add to your must-see list.

If you need some more cinema inspiration in the meantime, though, be sure to check out our pick of the 26 films every feminist should see this year.

Happy viewing!

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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