Zendaya's iconic role in Euphoria almost went to a first-time actor
It would have been a whole other show, tbh
words Megan Wallace
Can you imagine Euphoria without Zendaya? Neither can we, tbh. However, the actor, who became the youngest person to win the “Lead Actress” Emmy in 2020, had some competition for the role.
According to Euphoria’s casting director Jennifer Venditti, Zendaya was the first choice for the character — but a first-time actor was also being considered.
Speaking to Variety, she explained that a street-cast actor, who had experienced struggles with addiction that matched the character’s own storyline, was also in the mix during the audition process. “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,” Venditti said.
While the candidate linked up with an acting coach to help prepare her, Venditti and director Sam Levinson ultimately realised that, although Zendaya had none of this experience, her acting skills were such that she would still be able to rise to the challenge of depicting Rue’s life story. “It’s so interesting. A polar opposite. Because here’s Zendaya, who has none of the life experiences of Rue, who was able to dig into her toolbox and access it in such a beautiful way,” she added.
The Euphoria gossip kept on coming with the news that Hunter Schafer, who plays Jules in the teenage drama and had previously worked as a model, had initially turned down the opportunity to audition for the role. “I reached out to her agent and they originally passed. [The actor] had to be open to any kind of sexual situations. So imagine that you were not really thinking of acting, and someone brings an opportunity with possible nudity,” Venditti told the magazine.
However, after meeting with Veniditti, Scahfer changed her mind and started working with an acting coach during the casting process, before ultimately bagging the part.
And the rest, as they say, is herstory…