‘Euphoria’ Casting Director Reveals That Someone Other Than Zendaya Almost Played Show’s Leading Character

Zendaya in 'Euphoria'

‘Euphoria’ Casting Director Reveals That Someone Other Than Zendaya Almost Played Show’s Leading Character

Could you imagine Euphoria without Zendaya?

While the lead role of the HBO Max series highlights the range of the former Disney actress, it almost went to someone else. Casting director Jennifer Venditti said,

“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.”

Zendaya for 'Euphoria'

Euphoria centers on Rue Bennett (Zendaya)—a young drug addict in recovery who is trying to find her place in the world—and her inner circle as they make their way through high school while dealing with trauma, drugs, self-harm, family, friends, love and, of course, sex.

The show’s lead may not share the same life journey as her character, but it’s nearly impossible to tell as you watch her passion shine through in every episode. Coming in behind Game of Thrones, Euphoria is the second-most watched show on HBO Max, and in 2020, it made Zendaya the youngest person to win the lead drama actress Emmy.

During her recent interview, Jennifer Venditti said,

“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.”

Zendaya previously admitted that she had planned to make her directorial debut for a season 2 episode of the show, but she didn’t have enough time to prepare. Directing an episode remains a goal for the actress, though, and she hopes to accomplish it sometime during season 3.

Do you think anyone else could’ve played the role of Rue as well as Zendaya does? Let us know in the comments!


Authored by: ShaCamree Gowdy