‘Euphoria’: Zendaya’s role almost went to another actress

At just 24 years old, Zendaya became the youngest actress to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, for her role in the HBO series. (Photo: HBO release)
At just 24 years old, Zendaya became the youngest actress to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, for her role in the HBO series. (Photo: HBO release)

Can you imagine “Euphoria” without Zendaya? It almost happened! Casting director Jennifer Venditti revealed to Variety that, prior to signing the actress, the production was eyeing an anonymous young woman to play Rue. She drew attention for having a life story similar to that of the character.

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“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. 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”, explained Venditti. 

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The first-time actress even underwent training, but Venditti and series creator Sam Levinson weren’t confident she was up to the challenge. And then Zendaya won over the team. ““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”, told the director.

At just 24 years old, Zendaya became the youngest actress to win a 2020 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in the HBO series. This year, she is up for the trophy again, making her the youngest to be nominated twice.

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