×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Euphoria’ Team Talks Working with Intimacy Coordinator, Avoiding Glamorizing Addiction

HBO’s adaptation of Israeli teen drama “Euphoria” explores the lives of high school kids who are grappling with social pressures, burgeoning sexualities and addiction. And in order to accurately but comfortably bring such tough topics to life, the show worked with an intimacy coordinator and was careful about how they shot certain scenes.

“There’s a lot of movement in the show in terms of camera,” creator Sam Levinson said at the ATX Television Festival panel for the new series Thursday. “In terms of the sex scenes, the main thing we tried to do is keep the camera still. … You want to allow for the awkwardness and the discomfort to bleed into it.”

Series star Eric Dane, who plays Cal, one of the teen’s parents who has a complicated and much more intertwined connection with the younger characters than it appears at first glance, also praised intimacy coordinator Amanda Blumenthal for providing a “safe environment” for everyone to do their best work.

For Levinson, who has been open about his own addiction, part of that safe environment included being sensitive to the portrayal of Rue’s (Zendaya) addiction in the series. But, he admitted he wouldn’t shy away from the harsh reality in favor of such sensitivity.

“I think any time you put anything on screen, you run the risk of glamorizing it just by the nature of it being on screen,” Levinson said. “I don’t want [to be triggering], but we also have to be authentic about it. … I think people can tell if we’re pulling our punches and not showing the relief that drugs can be. It starts to lose its impact.”

Levinson, who shared that watching “Requiem for a Dream” made him want to try heroin, said the production team is “mindful” of not only the portrayal of, but also how a young audience might respond to the subject matter. However, he admits that he doesn’t see the show as a “cure for anything.”

“People react so differently to different things,” he said. “I don’t look at it as someone will watch it and they’ll be OK. But I do think it’s important that we as a culture — we as parents, we as brothers and sisters — have empathy for the struggles [people] are going through.”

Zendaya, who had some of the most emotionally-taxing scenes to perform in “Euphoria,” didn’t dwell on the grim parts of the story. Rather, she responded the realism of the world and the characters. “It explores the dark, but there’s also hints of moments of light and hope,” she said of the show. “And then it’s gone and then you find it again. … That’s how life works.”

“Euphoria” premieres June 16 on HBO.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Will Arnett Joins BBC Soccer Comedy

    Will Arnett Joins BBC Comedy ‘The First Team’ From ‘The Inbetweeners’ Producers

    Will Arnett and Chris Geere will star as the chairman and coach of an English soccer team, respectively, in “The First Team,” a new comedy for the BBC from the producers of “The Inbetweeners.” The series will follow the off-the-field misadventures of three young soccer players played by Shaquille Ali-Yebuah (“The Feed”), Jack McMullen (“The [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Fashion at the

    'Game of Thrones,' Fashion Slayers: HBO's Drama Winners Also Shined on the Carpet

    The cast of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” knew how to make an entrance (and an exit) on Sunday night at the Primetime Emmy Awards. Before winning the night’s final trophy, Best Drama Series, stars like Emilia Clarke and Gwendoline Christie pulled out some fantastical looks on the purple carpet, with Clarke donning the mother-of-all-earrings by [...]

  • Emmys Fashion: Best Dressed on the

    Emmys: Best Fashion on the Purple Carpet

    The biggest stars in television stepped out on the Emmy purple carpet on Sunday night in a stunning display of gowns and vivacious looks. Fashion expert Brooke Jaffe, who visited Variety’s set after the show, picked some of her favorite dresses of the night, which included Zendaya’s truly enviable Vera number and Mandy Moore in [...]

  • Emmys 2019: Biggest Winners and Losers

    Winners and Losers of the 71st Emmy Awards

    The 71st Emmy Awards was a spectacular affair for the Brits, while broadcast networks all but vanished. Watch Variety’s Elaine Low and Audrey Yap unpack TV’s biggest night of the year, which saw “Game of Thrones” and “Fleabag” take home the top prizes, winning best drama series and best comedy series, respectively. Popular on Variety

  • Atmosphere71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Show,

    Emmy Viewers Not 'Feelin' Good' About Bizarre Music Choices

    It was known ahead of time that the Emmy Awards planned to dispense with a traditional orchestra or pit band for the walk-up and bumper music. What wasn’t anticipated was that the music choices were being outsourced to a bar mitzvah DJ in Des Moines. Or, very possibly, it was a local who had found [...]

  • Atmosphere71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Show,

    Emmys: Big 4 Broadcasters Post Lowest Combined Wins Ever

    The Big 4 broadcast networks put a cap on their worst year in Emmy history on Sunday night. ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC brought home just 16 Emmy Awards — the lowest combined total in history for the four major broadcast networks. The previous low was 19 combined wins in 2016. Last year, the networks [...]

  • Karamo BrownLA LGBT Center 'Hearts of

    Karamo Brown Addresses Backlash Against Sean Spicer Comments

    Karamo Brown has doubled down on comments he made about his fellow “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Sean Spicer, in which he promoted the idea of meeting political adversaries “in the middle.” The amicable “Queer Eye” host received criticism when he said he was “most excited to meet” Spicer ahead of the show’s 28th season, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content