It’s no secret
Euphoria pushes boundaries. The edgy teen drama doesn’t hold back when it comes to depicting substance abuse, extreme violence, and truly dark situations. It also features a significant amount of sex scenes and nudity, which isn’t always well-received. In fact, several Euphoria cast members have spoken about their discomfort with the nudity on the show, particularly in Season 2.
After the first season of
Euphoria debuted as a huge success in 2019, it sounded like the show’s writer-creator Sam Levinson was aiming to turn up the heat even more in Season 2. However, just when production was slated to begin in 2020, the pandemic hit and severely delayed filming on the season. This delay may have actually been a blessing in disguise, though, as Zendaya revealed in an interview with The Cut that Levinson largely rewrote the second season, cutting a lot of scenes and elements that the actor said “needed to die.”
Zendaya didn’t get into the specifics of what that original script looked like, but after several other stars revealed they asked Levinson to alter scenes in which their characters were originally supposed to appear nude, it seems pretty clear that it involved much less clothing than the version that aired.
Here’s what the actors had to say.
Sydney Sweeney, who plays the hopeless romantic Cassie on
Euphoria, revealed in a Jan. 20 interview with that she told Levinson to cut shirtless scenes she felt were unnecessary. The Independent
“There are moments where Cassie was supposed to be shirtless and I would tell Sam, ‘I don’t really think that’s necessary here,’” Sweeney said, adding that Levinson was always receptive to her suggestions. “He was like, ‘OK, we don’t need it.’ ... I’ve never felt like Sam has pushed it on me or was trying to get a nude scene into an HBO show. When I didn’t want to do it, he didn’t make me.”
Alexa Demie plays cool girl Maddy on the show, and she shared in
a 2019 that the requisite nudity initially scared her, but she grew more comfortable with it. Vogue video
“The nudity was — it was tough for me because I’m, you know, I’m not really… I’m just not comfortable like that publicly,” Demie said. “So it was hard for me. But it definitely, like I said, pulled me out of my comfort zone, and after I did it, I watched it and it’s just… it’s not that serious.”
The normally low-key Ethan got to let loose in a big way during Lexi’s play at the end of Season 2, but Austin Abrams shared that his sexually charged “Holding Out For a Hero” number was initially much different. In a Feb. 20 interview with
Entertainment Tonight, Abrams said he was initially terrified because the original script called for him to dance in his “tighty-whities” while being “lathered down in oil and doing all these things.” He was relieved when the costuming was changed to football uniform pants instead of underwear. Porn star Chloe Cherry is no stranger to nude scenes, but she admitted that it was a bit jarring for her very first scene as a television actor to be a naked one. She revealed in a Jan. 30 interview with that right after she met her co-star Tyler Chase (who plays her character Faye’s boyfriend Custer), Levinson wanted to shoot a scene in which she was completely naked. The Daily Beast
“We just met and said, ‘Hey, how are you?’ and then shot the scene,” Cherry said. “It probably would’ve been more comfortable had we had a little more time to know each other. Sam wanted to do the scene with me completely naked and Tyler was like, ‘That’s
a lot,’ so they decided not to.”
In Season 2, Minka Kelly joined the cast as Maddy’s glamorous babysitting boss Samantha. Many
fans picked up on an oddly seductive element to Maddy and Samantha’s relationship, and it’s apparently something Levinson wanted to go all-in on from the start. Kelly revealed in a Feb. 14 interview with Vanity Fair that Levinson initially wanted to film her getting completely undressed in Samantha’s introductory scene, but she asked to have that changed.
“[Levinson] thought it would be more interesting if my dress fell to the ground,” Kelly said, referring to her first scene in which Maddy helps unzip Samantha’s dress. “That was my first day as a guest on this new show, and I just didn’t feel comfortable standing there naked... I said, ‘I’d love to do this scene, but I think we can keep my dress on.’ He was like, ‘OK!’ He didn’t even hesitate. And he shot a beautiful scene and got exactly what he wanted.”
Martha Kelly also had some qualms about a scene involving her character, the unnerving drug dealer Laurie. In a Feb. 13 interview with
Variety, Kelly said the scene in which Laurie injects Rue with morphine in her bathtub initially showed Laurie undressing Rue, and had much more of a “pedophilia vibe” before Levinson decided to change it in his rewrites.
“In the script, it is even creepier, because Laurie is helping her undress and get in the tub, and it is approaching this gross pedophilia vibe,” Kelly said. “Initially, I was just like, ‘I can’t do this.’ But then I met with Sam and he was so lovely about it. I spoke with him and decided not to ask him to change anything, because I feel very strongly that I’m more of a comedian than an actor, so I would never tell a writer or a director if they could change something for me... I was happy when Sam told me we were going to shoot the bathroom scene slightly out of focus, and that some stuff was altered because of that pause we took in filming due to the pandemic.”
All episodes of
Euphoria Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on HBO Max. Don't miss a thing
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