Euphoria’s debut season wasn’t exactly a laugh a minute, with substance abuse, depression, sexual and physical violence, toxic masculinity (we could go on) par for the course. But according to the cast of the HBO/Sky Atlantic series, which stars Zendaya as Rue, a teenager who seeks solace in drugs as a way to dull her senses and subdue her emotional turmoil, creator and writer Sam Levinson was only just getting started.
“I think the stakes are raised for everybody,” she said. “We all go through really intense moments and the anxiety is up and everything’s heightened. It’s definitely heightened a lot more for every character.”
Alexa Demie, who plays Maddy, echoed that: “This season is even more intense in the decisions that each character is making and how they affect the other characters. The decision that one character makes will greatly affect another character and it just raises the stakes for everyone. This season felt a lot more intense, especially with each other.”
Apatow chimed back in: “And consequences, right? Everyone’s making decisions and you get to see the consequences of all their actions this season, I think a little bit more, and how they deal with that.”
Zendaya also revealed that season one, as tumultuous as it was for Rue, was not her lowest point. That, unfortunately, is still to come.
“And this season, more specifically, she goes to the rock bottom,” she explained. “When we get midway through, that’s when the rock bottom hits, and that’s where it became extremely painful for all of us to watch. And to portray her going through it hurt me.”
But Zendaya did promise that there are better days ahead for the protagonist.
“I remember having a conversation midway through [season two] like, [Rue] can’t stay here,” she added. “We can’t leave her [in this dark place]. And I always felt that Rue would be okay because Rue is a version of Sam [Levinson] and Sam is who he is, and was able to take all that pain [in his own life from when he was a drug addict] and turn it into this beautiful television show many years later.
“I wanted to see that and I think we all wanted to see that, a sense of hope, because it goes to such an extreme low for her. It’s a long journey, but we get there. I promise. Just keep loving her and keep supporting her.”