WRITTEN BY: CECILIE BREE WILKINS
Many know the successful actor, Zendaya, from her roles on various disney shows as well as in the wildly popular Spiderman films by Marvel. Zendaya is now shaking up her resume by taking on a heavy drama by HBO called, Euphoria, playing a drug addicted teen, dealing with mental illness.
This drama follows Seventeen-year-old Rue, who in dealing with her severe mental illness, specifically OCD, anxiety and ADHD, becomes addicted to drugs. We meet her character as she returns from a summer rehab program. Narrating the episode, Zendaya’s character, Rue, explains that she never planned on staying clean.
Zendaya’s character however, is not the only one dealing with intense issues; we also meet characters dealing with issues of gender identity, revenge porn, sexual manipulation and the general navigation of sexuality in adolescence all in the first episode.
While the show deals with issues that are a reality for many, some viewers found the first episode uncomfortable to watch at times. Euphoria is blunt in its storytelling and graphic regardless of how shocking the content may be. The show aims for a raw portrayal of the issues it deals with despite how upsetting the images may be to confront. Many shots are even designed to make the viewer feel as uncomfortable as the subject matter.
Zendaya told Collider, “What I immediately connected to and realized about this script was that it was real.”
Zendaya went on to explain that following her previous projects, she was anxious about what roles she should take on moving forward. “I had all of these ideas in my head about what the next move should be, and there was nothing that I felt like I was connecting with. I was starting to stress and bug out because I just didn’t have anything, and nothing was connecting with me,” she said.
Zendaya has received massive praise online for her acting performance in this first episode, as her character, Rue. This role is likely the most challenging her career has seen so far. In a tweet, @spideyxbishop stated, “Just watched the first episode of #Euphoria and it truly made me feel so many different emotions. It was so raw and visually stunning. Can’t wait for next week’s episode! Also, Zendaya is absolutely killing it in her role as Rue.”
Regarding Zendaya’s thoughts on the experience filming Euphoria, she told Collider, “It sucks because I’ll be comparing everything I do, I feel like, to this, for the rest of my life, which is okay because it’ll force me to push myself and continue to raise my own bar. But it’s gonna be hard because this is such a special experience.”
Euphoria airs on Sunday nights on HBO.
Photo Source: Variety