Zendaya Is Just Trying to Keep Her Cool
Let’s get one thing straight: Zendaya never likes it when people watch her cry. The irony is that Rue, the drug-seeking teen she plays on HBO’s drama Euphoria, is all about the tears. Between bites of yellow watermelon, she explains that she has to remember not to cover her face while filming. “I always hide my face when I cry,” she says, tossing back her curly brunette locks. “I would cover up my whole performance with my hands if I let myself.” Euphoria—which delves into a generation of overdrugged, hypersexed high schoolers—centers on Zendaya’s character grappling with grief, addiction, anxiety, and depression. “Rue has such a darkness to her, but also an innocence. I have to be super vulnerable and sad in front of people. It’s weird, but cathartic in a lot of ways.”
While sipping a virgin mojito at L.A.’s trendy vegan restaurant Crossroads Kitchen, a favorite of the 23-year-old actress, she orders two more dishes to go along with the watermelon salad. “Did you know there was such a thing as yellow watermelon?” she asks in pleasurable shock. “I learn something new every day.”
Zendaya strips off an oversize hooded sweatshirt that reads “I Am a Voter,” which she found in her mailbox one day. Her playful, sporty style complements her easygoing personality. She fiddles with the $28 hoop earrings she says look dope. Even though she’s dressed down and without makeup for our dinner, her pinstripe trousers are the same ones she wore for the Spider-Man: Homecoming promotional tour in 2017.
Earlier today, Zendaya brainstormed ideas with Euphoria creator Sam Levinson for the second season of the show. “I harass him daily,” she says, half-joking, eagerly awaiting a potential shoot date in January. She tells me she doesn’t know what’s going to happen next, but she would love for her character and model-turned-actress Hunter Schafer’s character Jules to be healthy and find each other again. “Euphoria was eight months of my life, and now that it’s done I’m like, ‘Fuck,’” she says, reflecting back. “You put your shit out there, and it’s a really terrifying thing to do. It’s out for the world to see—it’s so fucking weird.”
Right now, Zendaya feels as if she needs to decompress and take some time for herself. She’s been continuously promoting her role as Michelle Jones, Peter Parker’s love interest in Spider-Man: Far From Home (with Tom Holland), and she debuted her Tommy x Zendaya spring 2019 collection in Paris this past March (the fall 2019 collection premiered at Harlem’s Apollo Theater in September). She’s also the face of Lancôme’s newest fragrance campaign, Idôle; in a first for her, Zendaya was involved in the development of the scent from early on. Lately, she’s been taking pottery classes and finding time to garden in her backyard. She even took a recent road trip with her mother back to her hometown of Oakland. “Even though Euphoria coming out was amazing and exciting, it was also extremely stressful. It gave me a lot of anxiety every week,” she tells me.“That’s something I deal with; I have anxiety. I already know after this interview is over, I’m going to spiral about it for weeks.”
Growing up, the former Disney star learned her love for acting from her parents, both former teachers, who encouraged her to pursue her passion even though she was very shy. “I wouldn’t try anything,” Zendaya admits. “I always had this fear of failing and not doing so well.” At 14, she became a household name as a star of the sitcom Shake It Up on the Disney Channel. The family moved from her Bay Area childhood home, located in a neighborhood she describes as “not the nicest,” to Hollywood, and she felt bad about the fact that her mother gave up her career to help her become a star.
When she was 20, Zendaya bought a $1.4 million Mediterranean-style mansion and took control of her career. “I had grown up—I moved out, and it was time for me to be the sole voice in my career and make my own choices,” she says. “I just had too many people I was trying to please, too many opinions, and I was constantly talked out of following my gut and my instinct. I don’t have a road map for this shit—I grew up really, really fast. I learned to trust myself a lot more.”
But that trust also made her cautious. “I never want to mess up. I’m trying to be the best version of myself without overapplying pressure. Then I start spiraling,” she says, her cheeks flushing pink. Zendaya spent hours and hours with Levinson to help develop the character she was playing. “Rue is just a combination of my shit and Sam’s shit, and together we created her. I don’t feel too dissimilar from Rue. It didn’t feel fake to me; it felt like she was me in another version of my life.”
She bows her head, her shoulders moving up and down, until she looks up at me. “I think Euphoria taught me a lot about myself. It made me more confident in my own abilities, because I doubted myself a lot.” Zendaya says that before the show, she didn’t have any work that pushed her or allowed her to be creative. “I was looking for something to prove I can do it,” she says. “Euphoria served as that, in the healthiest way. I never want to plateau as an actress—I always want to be able to explore and push myself. [Being an actress] brings me to places and makes me do things I’d probably never do because I’m such an introverted person.”
Zendaya takes a deep breath and exhales; this interview has the feeling of an intense therapy session. She points out that she keeps repeating the words “I don’t know” and apologizes. “I know, I’m super hard on myself,” she acknowledges. But then, without so much as a blip of hesitation, she tells me that she’s glad people admire her work. “People actually saying I did a good job at my craft…it’s like, ‘Damn, I did work hard. I’m glad you see that.’” She pauses a moment, squirming slightly. “I should finally own that; it’s liberating. I feel lucky.” As with most therapy sessions, she looks down at her phone and realizes time has run out. She hugs me and tells me she’s sorry if she seemed uncomfortable. Like everything else, it’s not so scary once it’s over.
This article appears in the November 2019 issue of ELLE on newsstands October 22.
Zendaya is featured in the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter. I’ve added scans and the photo session to the gallery. She looks lovely.
The 23-year-old star-producer’s profile (and bankability) continues to grow with the announcement of a Lancôme contract in February, a second fashion collection with Tommy Hilfiger and well-reviewed turns in Spider Man: Far From Home and HBO’s Euphoria. With her confident delivery of stellar red carpet looks and a following that numbers 61.8 million on Instagram, Zendaya “has netted Lancôme over 3 billion digital impressions, at an earned media value of over $86 billion,” says Stacy Jones, CEO of marketing agency Hollywood Branded. Her feed has even featured the occasional updo, which the actress used “to be against,” says Stephen. “I always heard her say, ‘My edges look so thin.’ I said, ‘You haven’t had my ponytail.'”
TOP RED CARPET LOOK Channeling Cinderella — or Zenderella, as Daley called it — for a camp-themed Met Gala look exemplified the actress’ “transition from childhood life to her adulthood.” Zendaya’s stylist Law Roach masterminded the princess-blue Tommy Hilfiger gown, which lit up as Zendaya arrived on the red carpet. Says Daley, “Law wanted to embody the whole look from the movie, from the dress to the hair to the makeup,” which included blue shades from Lancôme’s Teal Fury shadow palette. For her Instagram fans, Zendaya, a former child star who became famous for her roles on Disney Channel’s Shake It Up and K.C. Undercover, acknowledged the symbolism: “A fairy-tale ending to my Disney days.”
The Euphoria star-producer’s best advice for red carpet prepping? “Give yourself extra time. However much time you think you need, add an hour,” she says. “I’d much rather be relaxed and chill.” Adds Stephen: “It’s like getting a bride ready for her wedding. It’s an opportunity for everyone — hairstylist, makeup artist, stylist, client — to share their best.”
Zendaya has been featured in the last 2 issues of Daily Front Row magazine. I’ve added digital scans to the gallery.
Zendaya will be featured in issue 17 of Garbage magazine. Check out some photos for the issue and read a blurb about her article below. Enjoy!
Zendaya and Simone Leigh Are Going Beyond Beauty
In conversation with Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, Artists Simone Leigh and Zendaya come together to create a new vision of black womanhood.
The artist Simone Leigh’s work is build upon black female subjectivity. Throughout her practice, these ideas have manifested themselves in a wide variety of mediums and materials: There are her well-known sculptures and ceramics, as well as her social participatory work such as 2016’s The Waiting Room, which mimics the historic Free People’s Medical Clinic of the Black Panther Party, and provided public and private health care sessions on the fifth floor of the New Museum. Now, GARAGE has paired Leigh with the actress and performer Zendaya to bring her work to life in a different way. Taking inspiration from Brick House, Leigh’s 16-foot-tall sculpture currently on display at New York City’s High Line, as well as her ongoing Cupboard series, Zendaya both wears Leigh’s work and becomes her women. The 23-year-old actress, who’s interested in expanding the canon of characters that young black women are allowed to play in Hollywood, fits perfectly within the larger narrative of Leigh’s work. Together, they take up space and demand to be seen and heard. This portfolio of images, photographed by Ryan McGinley, is the result of their collaboration, a new vision of black womanhood within the pages of a fashion magazine. We also brought Leigh and Zendaya together with Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, to have a frank conversation about creativity and the importance of uplifting the stories of people of color.
Thelma Golden: I’m thrilled to be talking to both of you. Where I want to start is to ask both of you to talk about your expectations, hopes, and desires for this collaboration.
Simone Leigh: I kept on thinking about [Isamu] Noguchi and Martha Graham and the way he created sculpture for her, which has been interesting to me for a while. I’ve been making different kinds of apparatus with my long-term collaborator Aimee Meredith Cox, and I’ve been thinking about this kind of collaboration with another artist where the sculpture will augment her body or can be happening adjacent to her body, but it was important for me in this shoot for the sculpture not to become backdrop or decoration. Also, I was very inspired by the role I feel like Zendaya has in our world right now, which is so necessary.
Zendaya: When the opportunity presented itself, I was obviously extremely excited. Even though we do art in different forms, there’s so much inspiration that could be gathered just by meeting someone and seeing their art, and seeing their work, and being able to be a small part of it. I don’t think I had any expectations, I just felt like it was going to be inspiring and refreshing. I don’t think I know very many people who do what she does, so meeting Simone and seeing her work and feeling like I was in some way becoming a part of her creation was magical and special. I felt very moved by it, and excited to be a part of something that was a different art form from my own, learn a little bit, step back, and just kind of be a part of what she sees for her pieces. I’d never really done anything like that before.
The end of an era and the beginning of a new one.
The arrangement between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures to collaborate on Spider-Man movies is reportedly over, with Sony opting to not renew a deal that would have seen Marvel/Disney take 50% of any future Spider-Man movie profits in exchange for the creative guidance of producer and MCU boss Kevin Feige.
That means Spider-Man is effectively out of the MCU and back into his own solo movie universe overseen solely by Sony.
The Sony-Marvel deal has always been a head-scratcher for fans, right up until last month’s San Diego Comic-Con when fans were left wondering why Marvel didn’t announce a new Spidey film along with the rest of their Phase 4 slate. Given that talks between Marvel and Sony were deteriorating at that time, we now know why Spidey was a no-show at SDCC.
But it was never Marvel’s place to announce the next Spider-Man film. Sony holds the screen rights to Spider-Man and is the distributor of all the solo Spidey films, going back to the first Sam Raimi one.
Since 2015, Sony and Marvel Studios/Disney have had a deal to share Spider-Man, although the future of that agreement remains murky at present. Former Sony boss and ongoing Spider-Man producer Amy Pascal caused a stir in 2017 when she said, “One of the things that I think is so amazing about this experience is that you don’t have studios deciding to work together to make a film very often. In fact it may never happen again, after we do the sequel [to Spider-Man: Homecoming].”
The Ankler also recently claimed: “The original Sony/Marvel/Spidey deal to co-produce these movies stipulated that if (Far From Home) cleared a billion, Marvel would get to oversee a third. If it hadn’t, full control would have reverted back to Sony.”
Well, Spider-Man: Far From Home has grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide so far, and has become Sony’s biggest hit of all time.
Kevin Feige on X-Men Plans, No Avengers Movie in Phase 4 – Comic Con 2019
For his part, Tom Holland has just one more Sony-released Spidey solo film left in his contract (although it should be noted that contracts can be renegotiated, as Robert Downey Jr.did.).
It will certainly be curious to see if Feige or Disney address the Spidey reports at this weekend’s D23 Expo. In the meantime, the ball appears to be in Sony’s court about when an official announcement of a third Spider-Man film — one that will deal with all the fallout of the developments in Far From Home’s shocking mid-credits scene — will be made.
In any case, it will be one made by Sony Pictures, who is staying in the Spidey movie business for the long run whether Marvel Studios is partnered with them or not.
For more on Spider-Man, check out ways how Far from Home’s big twist could be undone in the next movie, the director’s answers to all your Far From Home spoiler questions, and Sony’s plans to re-release the film with additional footage.
Never-Before-Seen Extended Cut Featuring New Action Sequence To Be Released Labor Day Weekend
Columbia Pictures’ Spider-Man: Far From Home has officially become Sony Pictures’ highest-grossing film of all time, passing the global box office gross of Columbia Pictures/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/EON Production’s Skyfall. Through Sunday, August 18, Spider-Man: Far From Home made $376.7 million domestically and $732.9 million internationally for a worldwide cume of $1.109 billion.
Starting Thursday, August 29, ahead of the holiday weekend, an extended cut of the film featuring approximately four additional minutes of a never-before-seen action sequence will be released in theaters in the U.S. and Canada. The film will also be available in IMAX® and large formats in select locations.
On its path toward this record-breaking milestone, Spider-Man: Far From Home showed incredible power at the global box office.
The film’s North American opening at $185.06 million for the six-day holiday weekend was an all-time opening six-day record for Sony Pictures, the best-ever six-day opening for a Spider-Man film, and the best six-day opening for a film launching over the Fourth of July holiday. On opening day, July 2, the film opened to the biggest Tuesday numbers of all time with $39.3 million.
Spider-Man: Far From Home became the highest-grossing Spider-Man movie overseas and opened at #1 in 65 markets including Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The film’s global rollout began on June 28 in China, Hong Kong, and Japan with a $111 million cumulative opening. China debuted to $97.7 million – the seventh-largest opening of all-time for a studio film in the market and Sony Pictures’ second-biggest opening there. Japan opened with $9.4 million – the second-biggest superhero movie launch in the last decade. Hong Kong opened with $3.7 million – the fifth-biggest Friday-to-Sunday opening of all-time, and Sony Pictures’ best-ever opening in the market.
About Spider-Man™: Far From Home
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.
Directed by Jon Watts. Written by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers. Based on the MARVEL Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Thomas M. Hammel, Eric Hauserman Carroll, Rachel O’Connor, Stan Lee, Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach serve as executive producers. The film stars Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr, with Marisa Tomei and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Phew. That was a lot.
It felt like Euphoria has graced our screens for both an eternity and a split second, with characters that felt like old friends visiting us for not nearly enough time. On Sunday, the hit HBO series wrapped up its first season with a whirlwind of emotions, and by the time we bid goodbye to Rue (Zendaya) and Jules (Hunter Schafer), we had more questions than answers.
Here are some of the big takeaways from the eighth and final episode, plus questions for what’s coming in season 2.
Caution, spoilers for the season finale ahead! If you haven’t seen it, catch up here.
What happens to Rue?
It seemed like Rue was headed toward healing, what with her attending prom and reuniting with Jules. But the season wraps up on an uncertain note — told through frantic cuts that then transition into a surreal music video, episode 8 finds Rue seemingly relapsing after being abandoned by Jules, and then getting kicked out by her mother. Labrinth and Zendaya’s new song “All for Us” serenades us as Rue is propped up by a crowd of dancers (they’re all wearing her dad’s sweatpants, ahh the emotions!). She rises, then falls into their arms. (Watch the full scene-turned-music video above.)
Unfortunately, Rue’s physical fall could symbolize her descent into an overdose. Rue’s living family members didn’t interact with her at the end, yet her deceased father greeted her warmly. This aligns with previous fan theories that Rue has been dead the entire time, otherwise how would she know intimate details about other characters unless she was omniscient, narrating from above? At this point, it’s anyone’s guess.
Trouble ahead for #Rules
We left episode 7 on shaky ground for Jules and Rue, but Rules shippers probably did a happy squeal when the two shared a kiss at prom and Jules promised that she didn’t wish Rue was different. However, that joy was short-lived as Rue backed out of their plan to head out by themselves into the big city, and Jules leaves her behind.
Some fans were less than pleased about their favorite pair not ending up together, although others cheered for the ending, as many had felt Jules didn’t truly love Rue and unfairly toyed with her emotions by getting together with another girl.
Is Fez okay?
Everyone’s favorite drug dealer, Fez (Angus Cloud), was on his ninja grind tonight, and he ended up beating a man (possibly to death) in front of the man’s son to steal money to pay Mouse. However, his storyline ends on a cliffhanger note that implies the possibility of Mouse shooting him, after he realizes what Fez did to get the money.
From the first episode, Fez’s loyalty and compassion made the character a favorite, and of course the timeline was flooded with fans worried that he would be gone forever.
Nate, Maddy, & more
So Nate (Jacob Elordi) continues to be the worst human, and his reaction to his dad Cal (Eric Dane) getting physical was quite disturbing. But we have a tiny bit of hope that Maddy (Alexa Demie) will take action, now that she has a CD full of evidence against Cal.
We also see Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) swearing off men and about to get the abortion, with no McKay (Algee Smith) in sight this episode. Her sister Lexi proves to be a lovable and wise drunk (we want more Maude Apatow in season 2!), and Kat (Barbie Ferreira) gets one of the only happy endings in the finale, as she opens up to Ethan (Austin Abrams) and they share a kiss.
The finale may leave fans reeling for answers, but one thing we can all agree on: Give Zendaya an Emmy. Give them all Emmys. The makeup, costumes, visuals, and acting have been outstanding, and we can’t wait for season 2.
Zendaya and Sam Levinson spoke to IndieWire about how HBO’s drama can connect a generation of teens, even if they’re not watching.
The scene was just seven words: “Leslie and Rue fight in the hallway.”
“So we’re thinking a little yelling, slamming a door, call it a day,” Zendaya recalled while speaking with IndieWire.
But then, driving to set that morning, writer-director Sam Levinson had an idea. Why not try a little improvisation, and see where it goes?
“So I talked to Nika [King], talked to Z,” Levinson said, using shorthand for his already mononymous star, Zendaya. They shot the first take without any improv — just a mother and daughter yelling before the latter slams her bedroom door — “and it was good, it was interesting,” but Levinson wanted to “push it farther.” “However dark she goes, you go darker,” Levinson remembered telling his actors.
The result is what viewers see in the premiere: Rue (Zendaya), a drug-addicted teen, being confronted about her problem and reacting with raw animosity — knocking a framed picture off the wall and using a shard of the broken glass to threaten her own mother.
“It got to a place where it felt so fucking real — where she’s coming at her with the glass — and it was one of those moments where the entire crew […] just walked away from the set for 15 minutes [when it was over],” Levinson said.
“That day took a toll,” Zendaya said.
In a nutshell, that’s what “Euphoria” is striving for: an intense, authentic experience that connects with its audience on a personal level. But despite the extreme reactions to some of its more abrasive scenes, that intensity is designed to help more than provoke. If this scene and the many others like it merely make people angry, they’re not doing their job. “Euphoria” can serve as an introduction to a world some viewers don’t know is out there, as well as a connection for the people who are already living in it so they don’t have to feel alone. Over a first season both gripping and alienating, here’s how “Euphoria” is trying to help teens — even when they’re not watching.
If Not Teens, Who’s “Euphoria” Made For?
“Euphoria” creates a brand new world for anyone who hasn’t lived it, which is an easy path to controversy. For some, scenes like the above can be a lot to take in, and the consistent depictions of teen sex, drug use, and violence only add to the uncomfortable experience — HBO’s weekly episode rollout doubles as a much-need breather between sessions.
But for others, the onscreen drama merely mirrors a life they’re all too familiar with, making for a casual viewing experience or even a cathartic one. They know the high schoolers in “Euphoria” are out there, whether they’re friends, family, or people they know through the internet.
With that split in mind, the question becomes: Who is “Euphoria” made for? It’s made by young people, about a younger generation. Zendaya was 21 when she shot the series, Levinson in his early thirties. Still, no one is claiming the show is aimed at a teen audience — not the creator, star, or HBO president Casey Bloys. But “Euphoria” is still trying to help them, whether they watch it or not.
“I hope it creates a certain dialogue between parents and their kids,” Levinson said. “I don’t think this is a show for people under 17, but…”
“…but if your parent wants to have a conversation about it, that’s good,” Zendaya said.
“Or if you’re going to watch it anyway, and you have a feeling your kid is going to watch it anyway, then it might be good to have a conversation with them,” Levinson said.
“[People say] ‘Oh, it’s so shocking!’ To me, it doesn’t feel that way,” Zendaya said. “Because, yeah, I know someone who had that issue, and my homie went through that, and damn, that’s just like so-and-so. It’s only shocking if it’s maybe not your personal experience. Maybe you had a different path and you never met anyone who went through any of that — but I highly doubt it.”
One after the other, HBO’s incendiary new series “Euphoria” unveils acting discoveries. Exciting ones. Plus-size model and Instagram phenomenon Barbie Ferreira sizzles as zaftig Kat, who prefers controlling her virtual online sex partners to the vulnerability of building an intimate rapport with a real boy (Austin Abrams). “I don’t do virgins,” she tells him, not long after painfully losing her own maidenhead at a blowout party.
She is among several breakouts in this series created by showrunner Sam Levinson (the ex-addict scion of Hollywood royalty Barry), who wowed Sundance 2018 with hacking thriller “Assassination Nation,” which Neon picked up for $10 million (it grossed $2.5 million domestic). For “Euphoria,” Levinson hired again his “Assassination Nation” casting team of veteran Mary Vernieu (Bette Mae, Inc.) and Jessica Kelly (Chrystie Street Casting).
Of course, their job is to give the showrunner options to choose from before HBO finally approves. But it’s unusual for casting directors to look away from established stars to find new faces and make discoveries. “It’s very rare to get a script or an entire series at HBO where they tell you they don’t need any names, just whoever is best to make this story,” said Kelly, who has teamed with Vernieu on multiple movies since Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler.”
“In this day and age the opportunity to discover people doesn’t happen that much anymore,” said Vernieu, who was an associate casting director for Billy Hopkins on Tony Scott’s “True Romance,” starring Christian Slater, Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Patricia Arquette, Brad Pitt, and James Gandolfini. “You want someone who has some value. It’s a wonderful artistic process for us, to be allowed to dive in and find these characters.”
While the casting directors “had an idea of Sam’s taste and style going into ‘Euphoria,’” added Kelly, the pilot was “like nothing I had ever read or seen before. It is a bold, brave, exciting movie with a young cast. We have a great combination of some cast who have never acted before and someone like Jacob Elordi who came from Australia. It’s watching tons of tapes from all over the country, knowing what Sam likes, and bringing in different people and trying different things.”
First up was casting the series lead, an addicted teen who loves her family – who discover her overdosed and comatose in Episode 1 – but finds it hard to cope with the world without altering her consciousness. Zendaya’s casting was by no means in the bag: her management team wasn’t sure that playing an addict was the best thing for the 22-year-old rising star’s career. After all, the model and “Dancing with the Stars” contestant had already come into her own on Disney’s “Shake It Up” and “K.C. Undercover” as well as Hugh Jackman’s smash musical “The Greatest Showman” and Spiderman gal pal MJ for Marvel. But “Euphoria” offered her the opportunity to reveal her range, digging deeper in a way that no one was expecting.
Vernieu knew Zendaya could do it. And she argued vehemently to showrunner Levinson that the series needed the magnetic good-girl Zendaya to draw in the audience, giving them someone familiar to make them feel secure within a challenging contemporary milieu that often feels too authentic for comfort. “At first I thought she wouldn’t do it, it’s such a departure,” said Vernieu. “It was something so far from her persona. She’s got a lot of fans. Getting her people to take a minute to read it and pass it on: ‘Are you sure this is what you want to do?’ It’s a complex character. At the last minute she read it and wanted to do it. But she knew from beginning what to do with it, how important it was. She’s a smart girl.”
Zendaya took the role, with Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” star Storm Reid also extending her scope as her little sister. “Despite all the darkness and hardship, we have to have hope,” said Vernieu. “That’s what made Zendaya the perfect person to root for, so she could come through the other side.”
In order to cast a casting net wide across the country, HBO brought in another famous talent scout, Jennifer Venditti (“American Honey,” “Good Times”), who specializes in auditioning and finding unknowns who fit their roles perfectly, from Florida shopping malls to the streets of Ohio.
Vernieu is alert for certain signals when she reads a lot of people. “A perfect performance in the room is not what we are looking for,” she said. “We are looking for moments of brilliance, those flashes that show where it can go. Auditions are artificial, it’s really hard for the actors, hard for everybody—in a room, two chairs, not in the scene. What it’s really about when someone comes in? Is it an essence, is it organic? Do they feel like the character? You see the flashes, that one moment, ‘Oh my God!’ Once you send them off to do the movie or TV show, then they can go deep, access deep feelings, have layers, it can resonate. You’re looking for a person who has more to offer than what they’re showing.”
– Source / Read More
Euphoria can’t last forever. Heck, it probably can’t last beyond a few seasons.
“Well, [the characters] are in high school, so there are only so many seasons it can go,” HBO president Casey Bloys concedes to TVLine of the boundary-pushing breakout teen drama, which was recently renewed for a second season. “There’s a time limit.”
That said, Bloys maintains that he and series creator Sam Levinson have not set an end date in stone. “We’ll follow [Sam’s] lead on that,” he says. “There is no set plan. But I don’t think you want 30-year-olds playing [high school students].”
In renewing the show for Season 2, HBO’s EVP of programming, Francesca Orsi, heralded the “incredible world” Levinson has created, adding, “We are so grateful that he chose HBO as the home for this groundbreaking series. We look forward to following these complex characters as their journeys continue through the challenging world they inhabit.”
Debuting last month in the post-Big Little Lies time slot on Sunday nights, Euphoria offers an unflinching look at teenage life, with copious amounts of sex, drugs and violence.
Euphoria is set to wrap its first season this Sunday.