Here's Why Zendaya Almost Didn't Get Cast in 'Euphoria'
Rue Bennett was close to being played by a first-time actor.
A first-time actor had been considered for the role. However, it came down to who would be more mentally prepared to bring such a complex character to life, according to a new report by Variety. “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,” said casting director Jennifer Venditti, referencing Rue’s addiction with drugs. “But with a TV show, it can be many years [of work]. We all loved her, but when we went through the rigor of the process, we didn’t know if she could handle what it would take in terms of stamina.”
She added, “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.”
Venditti also talked about how Hunter Schafer got cast for the role of Jules despite not having acting experience. “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 explained. “I was like, ‘Can we just meet?’ Obviously, I’d respect her decision if that was something that, ultimately, she wasn’t comfortable with. But I didn’t feel comfortable just not having a discussion about it to see what her thoughts were and to explain what it was.”
Eventually, Schafer decided to pursue the role with Zendaya also getting cast.
Seasons 1 and 2 of Euphoria are currently streaming on HBO Max.