HBO’s Euphoria has become a cultural touchstone with viewers — some fans absolutely love the raw storytelling while others criticize what they feel is a romanticized view of sex and drugs. The use of nudity in the series has also become a hot topic with many of its stars saying they weren’t completely comfortable with the way some of the scenes were originally written.
Minka Kelly is the latest actress to speak up about the nudity situation and how showrunner Sam Levinson gracefully altered a scene on her first day on set. The script originally had her character’s dress falling to the ground after she asks Maddy, played by Alexa Demie, for assistance with her zipper. “That was my first day as a guest on this new show, and I just didn’t feel comfortable standing there naked,” Kelly told Vanity Fair. Levinson was open to hearing her concerns and he swiftly eliminated the nude scene. “He didn’t even hesitate,” she said. “And he shot a beautiful scene and got exactly what he wanted.”
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There’s no doubt that the show is pushing boundaries when it comes to scripted television and Levinson originally wrote some of the scenes with full nudity. It’s the actresses, like Kelly, who are pointing out that some of the nude scenes might be a bit gratuitous. Sydney Sweeney, who plays Cassie, has made it very clear there is no pressure to do something she’s uncomfortable with. “There are moments where Cassie was supposed to be shirtless and I would tell Sam, ‘I don’t really think that’s necessary here.’ He was like, ‘OK, we don’t need it.’ I’ve never felt like Sam has pushed it on me or was trying to get a nude scene into an HBO show. When I didn’t want to do it, he didn’t make me,” she told The Independent.
Chloe Cherry, who joined the show in the second season as Faye, had her own moment of taking a step back from the scene the way it was written. After her character watches someone get shot, she was supposed to be covered in blood — while fully nude. Her co-star Tyler Chase, who plays her boyfriend Custer, stepped up to say to Levinson, ” ‘That’s a lot,’ ” according to Cherry in a Daily Beast interview. The blood remained in the shot, but her clothes stayed on her body. It’s wonderful that Levinson is creating a space where the cast has a voice in the script, and no one is being forced into what could be a traumatizing situation. But let’s not forget, he’s going to keep on writing provocative scenes if the actors are willing to go there.
Before you go, click here to see actors who have spoken out about pressure to get naked for a role.