As immensely popular as the sophomore season of HBO’s Euphoria was, we’re still months away from the filming of the much anticipated third season. But during a recent Q&A event, Zendaya shared some insight into the making of her character Rue while also looking ahead to the series’ next chapter.
The Q&A took place following a screening for the fifth episode of season two, “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird,” in which Rue spends a night running from the police, her drug dealers, and her mother. The episode is a harrowing culmination of Rue’s struggles with addiction, and Zendaya’s work on it earned her an Emmy, making her the youngest two-time Emmy winner in history.
But the role consistently requires Zendaya to go to a dark place. Although she did not elaborate, she hinted that Rue’s journey had a much grimmer tone in the initial version of the scripts. “There was a much sadder ending to this season, and so we were thinking, ‘We can’t leave her here, she means too much to us,’” she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, Sydney Sweeney and Maude Apatow arrive for a #Euphoria Q&A in L.A. pic.twitter.com/yYTgVPDgOC
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) December 19, 2022
Ultimately, it was the pandemic that turned Rue’s story around. “I think, collectively, as a people, we all needed a little bit of hope,” Zendaya said. “We needed something to look forward to, some goodness and some joy, and trying to find that in a very painful time.”
She continued, addressing the other actors on stage, “So then, [series creator Sam Levinson] proceeded to completely change the ending, and it ended in the most beautiful way and the most incredible performances that you guys brought to life that blow my mind. And really, the idea [is] that art can save lives in many ways. So it went through many iterations, but I’m grateful where it ended, and I’m grateful for all the stories that were then shared with me after that ending.”
When the cast was asked what they see in store for each of their characters in the future, Zendaya said that she hopes Rue “is literally just to be able to be alive and maybe enjoy it.”
“And I know that she can do it because Sam wrote it, and Sam is Rue, and he’s done it,” Zendaya added, referencing the fact that Rue is based on Levison’s own history with addiction.
“He’s proof that there is hope for Rue and anyone like Rue, and from the beautiful letters and people who have reached out — I am so grateful for those experiences when somebody comes up to me, and they speak about Rue and how they’ve connected to her or whatever part of their healing journey she has been able to be a part of. To me that is the greatest, greatest gift I can ever ask, it gives me euphoria and purpose in what I do.”
Season 3 of Euphoria is rumored to begin filming in February of next year. In the meantime, the first two seasons are available to stream on HBO Max.