Zendaya’s "Euphoria" Role Almost Went To An Unknown Actor Recovering From Addiction & It’s Divided People | Big Indy News
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Zendaya’s “Euphoria” Role Almost Went To An Unknown Actor Recovering From Addiction & It’s Divided People

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In 2020, then–24-year-old Zendaya became the youngest person to win an Emmy in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category after she wowed critics and fans alike with her performance as Rue in the HBO drama Euphoria.

And last month, the actor told Vanity Fair that she was “overwhelmed” to have been nominated for four more Emmys following the second season of the show, which premiered earlier this year.

So there is no doubt that Zendaya has proven herself in the grueling role as a 17-year-old girl who is struggling with drug addiction following the death of her father.

The star has put her heart and soul into her performances for the TV series, and previously said that filming had left her with physical scars and bruises in addition to the mental toll that the difficult scenes had taken.

And while it may be impossible for fans of Euphoria to imagine anybody else as Rue, the show’s casting director, Jennifer Venditti, recently revealed that the role almost went to a first-time actor whom her team had scouted on the street.

In an interview with Variety published on Monday, Venditti said that the unknown woman had recovered from drug addiction herself, giving her “a similar trajectory [to] Rue.”

However, she and showrunner Sam Levinson had concerns that the project would prove to be too difficult for the actor and that she wouldn’t be able to “handle” filming the show.

“There was a young woman who had been street scouted by my team who was a magical person and had a similar trajectory as Rue and had come around to the other side,” Venditti told the publication in reference to Rue’s struggles with drug addiction.

“But with a TV show, it can be many years [of work]. We all loved her, but when we went through the rigor of the process, we didn’t know if she could handle what it would take in terms of stamina,” Venditti went on.

Venditti put the actor in touch with a coach to see if they could help her process the “emotional weight” of the project, but she and Levinson decided that she ultimately wasn’t ready.

“It’s so interesting. A polar opposite. Because here’s Zendaya, who has none of the life experiences of Rue, who was able to dig into her toolbox and access it in such a beautiful way,” she concluded.

The anecdote has divided people online, with some criticizing Venditti and Levinson for casting an already-established star instead of giving another young actor their big break.

“What a weird thing to talk about,” one person tweeted in response to the article. “I feel like it’s strange to say ‘we street scouted a young actor who overcame addiction and was perfect for the role but then we gave it to zendaya instead,’ like, just keep that in the archives it’s like you’re rubbing their nose in it.”

what a weird thing to talk about. i feel like it’s strange to say “we street scouted a young actor who overcame addiction and was perfect for the role but then we gave it to zendaya instead” like just keep that in the archives it’s like your rubbing their nose in it https://t.co/RE2RZcZdo9


Twitter: @sizzlipeed

Another agreed: “Thinking about how this could have been a life-changing role for the actor and could have probably really helped things a lot financially but the creative team decided to go with a celebrity who already was successful. Not hating on Zendaya or her performance but it’s just weird.”

thinking about how this could have been a life-changing role for the actor and could have probably really helped things a lot financially but the creative team decided to go with a celebrity who already was successful. not hating on zendaya or her performance but it’s just weird. https://t.co/Lf7BVCfqtz


Twitter: @bisexualcrises

One more echoed: “So a first-time actor with similar experiences to the character who’s career could’ve been made on the show, was given to someone who’s already extremely rich and privileged with an already-made career? Zendaya did incredible but this is just odd to me.”

so a first-time actor with similar experiences to the character who’s career could’ve been made on the show, was given to someone who’s already extremely rich and privileged with an already-made career? zendaya did incredible but this is just odd to me https://t.co/wsUZ5YWv43


Twitter: @tylerhancockkk

“This is such an odd story to share when you didn’t actually go with the unknown actor,” someone else wrote. “Instead you’re just bragging about leaving a recovered addict to obscurity and condescendingly saying ‘amazingly, she couldn’t handle it, unlike Zendaya!’”

this is such an odd story to share when you didn’t actually go with the unknown actor. instead you’re just bragging about leaving a recovered addict to obscurity and condescendingly saying “amazingly, she couldn’t handle it, unlike Zendaya!”


Twitter: @brosenstock18

However, the discourse has sparked backlash, with others arguing that it would have been exploitative to put an amateur actor in a potentially triggering situation.

“I do not think this is a bad look,” one person wrote on a Reddit forum. “It just sounds as if 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 handles, casting someone who was very similar to Rue could have been really destructive for an upcoming actress. Rue needed to be played by someone with more training,” they added.

“Yes, I imagine that it would be very triggering for anyone who’d ever dealt with addiction to have to stimulate drug use for their job,” a second user agreed. “It sounds like both the girl and the production team came to the conclusion that being in that environment would not be good for her, even if the drugs and booze were fake.”

Another person wrote: “100%. In what world is ‘she had incredible talent but at the end we were worried it would hurt her mentally so we had to look out for her mental health and say no’ a BAD thing?? goodness y’all.”

“Honestly I think it might have been for the best. Street scouting means that she didn’t seek out an audition and maybe wasn’t an actor even,” someone else commented. “Why make someone relive possible trauma by making them basically reenact their worst time? It would have been exploitative.”

This rings particularly true for Season 2, Episode 5 of the show, which saw Rue try to escape an intervention from her friends and family after they discovered that she’d relapsed and was taking drugs again.

Zendaya admitted that she was worried about shooting the dramatic episode due to the toll it’d take on her both physically and mentally.

“I was scared to tackle it because I didn’t want to see Rue like that, or have to go through that. Your body is a person, it doesn’t know that what you’re doing is not real,” she told Elle Australia. “My brain can say ‘ok I’m pretending’ but when I’m doing it, my body and my heart don’t know that it’s not real.”

“It wasn’t always easy,” she added. “I’m screaming in the face of people I care about. It’s not fun, so I appreciate the safe environment that I had to do that.”

Elsewhere in Venditti’s interview, she told Variety that model Hunter Schafer originally turned down the role of Jules.

“I reached out to her agent and they originally passed. [The actor] had to be open to any kind of sexual situations. So imagine that you were not really thinking of acting, and someone brings an opportunity with possible nudity,” she said.

“I was like, ‘Can we just meet?’ Obviously, I’d respect her decision if that was something that, ultimately, she wasn’t comfortable with. But I didn’t feel comfortable just not having a discussion about it to see what her thoughts were and to explain what it was,” Venditti added.

Venditti also put Schafer in touch with an acting coach, and she ended up getting the part after auditioning opposite the unknown actor that they were going to cast as Rue.

And while the street scouting didn’t quite go to plan for the role of Rue, a then–18-year-old Angus Cloud was successful when he was approached by a casting agent while walking down the street.

Angus was working as a waiter in an American chicken-and-waffles 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, they had me do a couple auditions and whatnot, and then I flew out to film the pilot in LA,” the actor told the Face.

He is now a Euphoria fan favorite and has also signed to IMG Models.



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Joe Sugg sends hidden message to Dianne Buswell as he spends Christmas with his family

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Andrea Caamano



Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell might be thousands of miles apart this Christmas, but they are still very much on each other’s minds.

Whilst the Strictly Come Dancing pro partner has been gushing about reuniting with her parents, her brothers and her nieces, and hitting the beach, Joe has returned to Somerset to spend time with friends and family.

The 31-year-old has been documenting his “wonderful trip to the shire” and couldn’t help but send girlfriend Dianne a hidden message.

VIDEO: Dianne comments on having children with boyfriend Joe

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Whilst gushing about his stay “at the amazing Court Farm”, a lovingly restored 16th Century farmhouse in Somerset, Joe sent Dianne a décor hint, revealing: “I kinda want our house to look like this!

Joe has travelled to Somerset to see family and friends

The gorgeous bedroom, as shown in a photo posted on his Instagram Stories, boasts a superking bed under a vintage chandelier, with an authentic barn door which opens onto a bathroom with both a huge walk-in shower and contemporary roll top bath.

Joe also praised the log burner, keeping him warm during his stay. “You cannot beat a good log burner this time of year,” he wrote.

The couple fell in love whilst taking part on Strictly Come Dancing

The theme would no doubt work well in Joe and Dianne’s country home in Sussex. The couple met on Strictly in 2018 and swapped their London flat for their first home together complete with a beautiful garden boasting uninterrupted country views.

Joe went on to reveal to his followers that he was visiting Lacock, a village in the county of Wiltshire.

“Forever grateful for this beautiful village where I grew up,” he said.

He then visited The Lacock Bakery and showed its gorgeous window display, which featured a copy of his book, Grow: How Nature Can Restore Balance in a Busy World.

“I used to go to this bakery as a toddler in my pushchair and now look! I left a special message in this book,” he remarked.

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A look inside ABC star David Muir’s intensely private personal life

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Hannah Hargrave



ABC star David Muir has long kept fans guessing about his personal life, refusing to share details online or across social media sites like many of his colleagues. But fans do know that David is still on the market and he’s not married, although it remains unclear if he is even dating.

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In fact, as the video below explains, despite being connected to several other high profile TV personalities, there’s only one certain someone who does take up David’s time…

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Despite numerous reports of romance for the World News Tonight anchor, David has always refused to publicly address his love life, but has been vocal about a number of leading ladies who he holds dear to his heart.

Kelly Ripa is one of those special people, so much so that the Live with Kelly and Ryan star paid a heartfelt tribute to David in her book, Live Wire.

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An extract from the book – which is released on 27 September – was posted on Kelly’s Instagram Stories over the weekend, and the message is included on a page of acknowledgements.

It read: “To David Muir, you are the backbone and moral compass I need sometimes.”

Kelly and David have been close friends for years

His fellow ABC star, Amy Robach, is also a firm favorite of David’s and they have been known to spend time together both on and off-screen.

His sister, Rebecca, is close with David and he calls his many nieces and nephews his “squad,” and says he’s incredibly proud of all of them.

At home, it’s his beloved gun dog, Axel, who has his heart, as he regularly shares adorable photos with the pup, who he is clearly besotted with. 

That’s not to say he hasn’t had his fair share of marriage proposals though! Not a day goes by when he isn’t flooded with compliments from his adoring fans on social media. 

But alas, the dedicated journalist is practically married to his job, leaving little time for love!

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Al Roker sparks emotional reaction as he mourns sad loss

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Jenni McKnight



Al Roker shared some sad news with fans on Thursday as he paid an emotional tribute to an influential figure in his life.

The Today star – who made a shock departure announcement this week – took to Instagram to pay his respects to legendary Jamaican-born Philadelphian producer, arranger, and songwriter Thom Bell, who sadly died aged 79, although his cause of death has not been disclosed.

WATCH: Al Roker’s health battle revealed

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Sharing a photo of Thom, Al wrote: “Legendary Philadelphia producer Thom Bell passing away at 79. His music was the soundtrack of my life.

“From The Spinners, The O’Jays, The Delfonics, The Stylistics to Elton John, he was part of that distinctive Sound Of Philadelphia. Thank you for your gift.”

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Many of Al’s followers were saddened by the news and left crying-face and praying hand emojis in the comments as well as paying their own emotional tributes to the late music star.

Al paid tribute to Thom Bell

“Such a tremendous loss of an amazing talent that was able to capture and create a sound like no other,” replied one. A second wrote: “Rest in Peace. Love the music you shared with us. Prayers for his family.”

A third shared their condolences while also wishing Al a speedy recovery, writing: “Sad news – wonderful legacy. I hope you are continuing to feel better and stronger. @todayshow is not the same without you.”

It’s been a particularly hard time for Al over the past few weeks, as not only has he been recovering after having blood clots on his lungs, but he also faced the devastating news that his sister Patricia had passed away shortly after he was discharged from hospital.

Al is recovering at home with his family

The TV star, who has been a part of Today for over 25 years, was admitted to the hospital shortly after Thanksgiving due to blood clots and remained hospitalized for over two weeks.

Al, who has taken an absence from the show ever since, gave an update to viewers from home last week. “It has been a tough slog. I’m not going to lie. It has been the hardest one yet and I’ve had my share of surgeries.

He continued: “I have a lot of things and people to be thankful for. It gives you a profound sense of gratitude for this outpouring of prayers and thanks.”

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