In 2020, Zendaya, then 24, became the youngest person to win an Emmy in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category after she wowed critics and fans with her performance as Rue in the HBO drama Euphoria.
And last month the actor said vanity lounge that she was “overwhelmed” to have been nominated for four more Emmys after the show’s second season, which premiered earlier this year.
So there’s no doubt that Zendaya has proven herself in the grueling role of a 17-year-old girl who struggles with drug addiction after her father’s death.
The star poured her heart and soul into her performances for the TV series, and has previously said filming left her with physical scars and bruises in addition to the mental toll the difficult scenes took.
And even if it is impossible for fans of Euphoria to imagine someone else like Rue, the series’ casting director, Jennifer Venditti, recently revealed that the role almost went to a rookie actor his team had spotted on the street.
In an interview with Variety released on Monday, Venditti said the stranger had recovered from drug addiction herself, giving her “a similar trajectory [to] Street.”
However, she and showrunner Sam Levinson feared the project would prove too difficult for the actor and that she might not be able to “handle” filming the series.
“There was a young woman who was spotted on the street by my team who was a magical person and had a similar trajectory to Rue and came from the other side,” Venditti told the publication in reference to Rue’s struggles with drug addiction.
“But with a TV show, it can take many years [of work]. We all loved her, but when we went through the rigors of the process, we weren’t sure if she could handle what it would take in terms of stamina,” Venditti continued.
Venditti connected the actor with a coach to see if he could help her deal with the “emotional weight” of the project, but she and Levinson decided she wasn’t ready after all.
“It’s so interesting. A polar opposite. Because here is Zendaya, who has none of Rue’s life experiences, who was able to tap into her toolbox and access it in such a beautiful way,” she concluded.
The anecdote has people online divided, with some criticizing Venditti and Levinson for choosing an already established star over another young actor.
“What a weird thing to talk about,” one person tweeted in response to the article. “I feel like it’s weird to say ‘we spotted a young actor on the street who overcame his addiction and was perfect for the role, but we gave it to zendaya instead,'” per example, keep this in the archives, it’s like rubbing your nose in it.
Another agreed: “Thinking about how it could have changed the actor’s life and probably helped a lot financially, but the creative team decided to go with a celebrity who was already successful. I don’t hate Zendaya or her performance, but it’s just weird.
Another echoed, “So a first-time actor with similar experiences to the character whose career could have been made on the show, was given to someone who is already extremely wealthy and privileged with a career already. done? Zendaya has done some amazing things, but it’s just weird to me.
“This is such a weird story to share when you haven’t been with the unknown actor,” someone else wrote. “Instead, you’re just bragging about leaving a recovered drug addict in the dark and condescendingly saying ‘surprisingly, she couldn’t take it, unlike Zendaya!’ “”
However, the speech drew backlash, with others saying it would have been abusive to put an amateur actor in a potentially triggering situation.
“I don’t think that’s a bad look,” one person wrote on a Reddit forum. “It just seems like they tried to go one way with whoever was going to play Rue, but ultimately found that Zendaya was better prepared to handle the emotional complexities of the character.”
“And based on the material the show is dealing with, casting someone who looked a lot like Rue could have been really destructive for an upcoming actress. Rue needed to be played by someone with more practice,” they added.
“Yes, I imagine it would be very empowering for anyone who has ever dealt with addiction to have to stimulate drug use for their work,” agreed a second user. “It looks like the girl and the production team came to the conclusion that being in this environment wouldn’t be good for her, even if the drugs and alcohol were wrong.”
Another person wrote: “100%. In what world is ‘she had incredible talent, but in the end we were worried it would hurt her mentally, so we had to look out for her sanity and say no’ a bad thing? goodness y’all.
“Honestly, I think it could have been for the best. Street scouting means she didn’t seek an audition and maybe wasn’t even an actress,” someone else commented. “Why make someone relive a possible trauma by having them replay their worst moment? It would have been exploitative.
This rings especially true for Season 2, Episode 5 of the series, which saw Rue attempt to escape intervention from friends and family after discovering she had relapsed and was on drugs again.
Zendaya admitted that she feared shooting the dramatic episode because of the physical and mental toll it would take on her.
“I was afraid to tackle it because I didn’t want to see Rue like that, or have to go through it. Your body is a person, it doesn’t know what you’re doing isn’t real,” she said. She Australia. “My brain can say ‘ok, I’m pretending’ but when I do, my body and my heart don’t know it’s not real.”
“It wasn’t always easy,” she added. “I scream in the face of the people I love. It’s not fun, so I appreciate the safe environment I had to do this.
Elsewhere in Venditti’s interview, she said Variety this model Hunter Schafer initially turned down the role of Jules.
“I contacted his agent and they were initially successful. [The actor] had to be open to all sorts of sexual situations. So imagine you weren’t really thinking about acting, and someone brought in an opportunity with possible nudity,” she said.
“I was like, ‘Can we just meet?’ Obviously, I would respect her decision if it was something she was ultimately not comfortable with, but I didn’t feel comfortable not discussing it to see what happened. she was thinking and explaining what it was,” Venditti added.
Venditti also connected Schafer with an acting coach, and she ended up getting the part after auditioning opposite the unknown actor they were going to play Rue.
And while street scouting didn’t quite go to plan for the role of Rue, Angus Cloud, then 18, did succeed when he was approached by a casting agent as he walked down the street.
Angus was working as a waiter at an American chicken and waffle restaurant in New York City at the time, and was asked to audition for the role of Fezco.
“She gave me her phone number, so I called her, I went there, they made me do some auditions and so on, then I flew out to film the pilot in Los Angeles” , said the actor. the face.
He is now a Euphoria fan favorite and also signed with IMG Models.