Variety Streaming Room: Television FYC
“Euphoria” was three days away from heading into production for Season 2 when the world shut down. Then director Sam Levinson came up with the idea to create two self-contained “portrait”…
“Euphoria” was three days away from heading into production for Season 2 when the world shut down.
Then director Sam Levinson came up with the idea to create two self-contained “portrait” episodes of the popular series and tapped Hunter Schafer, who plays Jules on the show, to help write.
“We were talking about themes that we’d tackle in Jules’ episode before even talking about the episode itself,” Schafer said. “When the opportunity came to actually write stuff down, we kind of were just ready to vomit all of our stuff out onto the script.”
In the Variety Streaming Room presented by HBO, hosted by Senior Artisans Editor Jazz Tangcay, the crew from “Euphoria” discussed creating episodes during the pandemic and striking a new tone through hair, makeup and costumes.
Panelists included Schafer, costume designer Heidi Bivens, hair department head Melanie Smith, makeup department head Doniella Davy and director of photography Marcell Rév.
The hair and makeup department heads touched on stripping back the looks in order to match the tone of the special episodes.
“We were so excited that it was our first creative episode coming out of the pandemic that we had a binder full of looks,” Smith said. “The hardest part was, once we started shooting, we realized we had to strip it all down. That this wasn’t about how Jules looked, it was how she felt.”
Davy added, “We’re in service to the script. Sometimes we nail it, and sometimes we have to undo a lot of the work. It’s all a part of it. I think just trusting that collective vision, or the vision that Hunter and Sam have as writers for this episode is the most important thing.”
The nature of the special episodes, which are very dialogue-heavy, required different cinematography techniques as well.
“It all came down to the nuances,” Rév said. “When you have two people talking for 30-something minutes, and you see two faces, every little visible gesture gets so magnified.”
To capture these nuances, the team decided to shoot the bottle episodes on film, unlike the first season, which was shot digitally.
“We wanted to make it a little warmer somehow,” Rév said. “It helped a lot, especially when it comes down to faces. It just renders skin tones and those details way better.”
Looking back on Season 1, the panelists discussed their favorite looks from the show. Rév mentioned Rue’s classic hoodie and the moment when she catches Jules riding her bike. Bivens noted the scene where Jules lies on top of Rue in the school quad, Smith spotlighted the prom looks and Schafer mentioned the fiery scene when Rue and Jules shoot and kill a burning Nate Jacobs within Rue’s fantasy.
Speaking on how “Euphoria” has inspired makeup trends and spotlighted makeup as a form of self-expression, Schafer said that creating looks at home during the pandemic helped her cope and reaffirm her identity.
“Just to play with makeup and your appearance for the sake of playing with it is a really nice way to feel aligned with who you are and how you’re feeling in the moment,” Schafer said. “I think the best thing to do when you feel lost is just to align yourself inwards and outwards.”