Zendaya Almost Lost Her Euphoria Role To The Most Unlikely Person
Here is who could be Zendaya's replacement as the show's lead actress.
Thanks to her outstanding performance in the TV series Euphoria, Zendaya won an Emmy Award in 2020 and 2022. It's hard to imagine the HBO project without her, but it turns out things could have gone differently.
The role of 17-year-old Rue Bennett almost went to a girl who had nothing to do with the film industry.
Casting director Jennifer Venditti told Variety that Euphoria’s creators originally wanted to cast a girl from the streets instead of the well-known actress (much like the late Angus Cloud, who was cast as drug dealer Fezco).
They felt that only someone who had overcome drug addiction in the past could play a convincing drug addict:
“There was a young woman who had been street scouted by my team who was a magical person and had a similar trajectory as Rue and had come around to the other side. But with a TV show, it can be many years [of work]. We all loved her, but […], we didn’t know if she could handle what it would take in terms of stamina.”
Jennifer added that the same girl had been trained by an acting specialist for a while, but showrunner Sam Levinson didn't feel she was ready to bring to the screen Rue's storyline, which was similar to her real life.
Some critics wrote that Zendaya's fame and success would make Rue's addiction attractive and would have a negative impact on teens. However, there is nothing glamorous about Rue's addiction, just as there is nothing attractive about Jules' self-destructive relationship or Nate's outbursts.
Euphoria is a show with bright visuals and catchy soundtrack, but just as the beautiful lives of Instagram influencers actually hide more complex stories, showrunner Sam Levinson uses that beauty to contrast what his characters are going through.
It's rather strange to call Euphoria a family show, but that's exactly what it is: parents can find out what's going on in their kids' heads and what their problems look like, and kids can see themselves and understand that they're not alone in their experiences.