Euphoria follows a group of Generation Z high school students as they navigate relationships, drugs, violence and much more. The two protagonists are Jules Vaughn and Rue Bennett, played by Hunter Schafer and Zendaya respectively. The series begins with Jules, the new girl in town, and Rue, a recovering drug addict, forming a friendship as they navigate the world. Euphoria has been recognized for its intense aesthetic and powerful soundtrack. The show was created by Sam Levinson. Drake is also one of the executive producers. Euphoria made its debut in 2019. After many qualms with the pandemic, the second season just dropped on HBO. Check out various screen facts below.
Inspired by Real Life
Hunter Schafer and Barbie Ferreira helped Sam Levinson write Jules Vaughn and Kat Hernandez’s character and story lines using their personal experiences. “It didn’t feel natural at first,” Hunter said about her own experience as a trans woman. “Part of surviving [the] experience was just, like, getting through s***… I think that’s what I had been [doing] up to that point: just going and going, fighting to be on the other side of my transition.” Schafer added she never looked back once she got out of North Carolina, but was forced to reflect on her journey when acting the part of Jules. “As we worked through different scenes, I’d have to remember a new detail, to dig up an artifact from within myself, and hold onto that moment for the scene.”
As for Kat’s character, Barbie said, “Emotionally, I dug into my high school experience when I was a weird, chubby girl. I didn’t have the confidence to explore myself sexually or take up space. Kat’s story mirrors a lot of the feelings I had then.” She added the wardrobe was inspired by Ghost World, a popular graphic novel and film from the 90s and early 2000s. Ferreira added she often uses other film references to communicate her vision with Sam Levinson. “Even for Season 2, I looked for movie references because I think Sam speaks the language of movies… Sam and I have this connection where we can just talk in references and also from an emotional place for hours, and it all connects back into character.”
Youngest with an Emmy Award
Zendaya plays Rue Bennett in Euphoria, the narrator and one of the main protagonists. In 2020, she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. This makes her the youngest actress to ever win an Emmy.
Easy Casting, Hard Casting
Hunter Schafer got her audition through Instagram; she was solely a model at the time. Apparently her modeling agency pushed Schafer to respond to the casting call. Euphoria is Schafer’s acting debut. Angus Cloud’s audition tape was spot on to Fezco’s character, he was cast quickly too.
On the other hand, Barbie Ferreira had to audition about 7 times before landing the role of Kat. There was also some difficulty surrounding the casting of Chris McKay. Brian “Astro” Bradley was supposed to play the role originally. He is also a rap artist who’s signed to Nas’ record label. But while filming the pilot, Bradley was reportedly uncomfortable with certain scenes. He felt the revised script suggested his character would experiment with homosexuality later on in the story. However, details about Bradley’s exit are heavily guarded. In the end, HBO producers decided to replace Bradley with Algee Smith. Certain parts had to be reshot, including an intense intimate scene with Sydney Sweeney who plays Cassie Howard. She said, “Let’s just say I’m very glad that Algee is playing the character.”
Every episode in season 1 is named after a rap song, with the exception of episode 7 and 8. The Pilot was named after one of 50 Cent’s songs too. It appears the trend is continuing into season 2 as episode 1 and 2 are named after Bob Dylan and Daryl Hall/John Oats songs.
Considering this is HBO’s first teen drama series, there is a ton of nudity. Out of the entire cast, only Zendaya and Maude Apatow never appear nude in the show.
Sydney Sweeney opened up about appearing nude for the role of Cassie Howard. She admitted the thought of being nude on camera was intimidating and spoke to her mom about it deeply. In the end, she was proud of her work and felt it told the story in a genuine, honest way. “The thing about the nudity in this show is that it’s not glamorized,” Sweeney said. “I had to look at the whole picture of the entirety of the show, and I just fell in love with the rawness and the situations and the emotions that all these characters go through.”