Euphoria, the American TV drama series written and created by Sam Levinson, follows the life of a group of American high school students who search for love and friendship in a world filled with drugs, sex, trauma, and social media. It is one of HBO’s most contentious shows because it represents youth engaging in drugs, violence, addiction, and nudity. The series is full of drugs and excessive nudity. But the main character Rue, played by actress Zendaya, has never been shown undressed on screen. What was the reason behind this?
Why Is Rue Never Shown Undressed In Euphoria?
Rue, played by Zendaya, is a 17-year-old drug addict struggling to find her place in the world while still recovering from her addiction. Even though Rue has done drugs and other stuff, she has never been seen undressed. That Zendaya was never shown undressed could be because of two reasons: One could be that she is one of the show’s executive producers, so she may have taken the liberty of choosing not to be shown naked, and another concrete reason could be that she might have signed a no-nudity clause.
Let us dive further deep into the meaning of the no-nudity clause.
What Is a No-Nudity Clause?
A no-nudity clause is a section of an actor’s legal contract that specifies that the actor may not perform nude in a movie, tv series, cinematic, or any other type of production. It gives the actor the right to refuse to perform a nude scene as per the actor’s no-nudity clause in the contract. However, the production house can use a body double or other methods as a substitute to represent the character naked.
Zendaya’s No Nudity-Clause
Although there is no official statement from the production house, it may be possible that Zendaya may have signed a no-nudity clause. It means that she will work on the show but will not perform any scene that will show her body naked onscreen.
Not performing nude scenes in a series that shows explicit nudity is a surprising demand accepted by the production house. It may be because of her no-nudity clause, and many fans believe it fits her character to refrain from performing such scenes.
Now we know the reason why Euphoria never showed Rue undressed. Were other actors of the show comfortable while shooting a nude scene?
Were Actors of Euphoria Comfortable Filming Nude Scenes?
Some of the cast members of Euphoria were comfortable filming nude and intimate scenes because HBO had appointed an Intimacy Coordinator, Amanda Blumenthal, to choreograph all the nude and intimate scenes of the tv series. An Intimacy Coordinator is an additional person responsible for making the actors comfortable while filming these scenes.
The coordinator explains the contract they have signed and how the scene will be shot to the actors. If they want to opt-out or do not want to reveal any body parts, they can inform the coordinator, and the coordinator will communicate their problems to the director and the production house. The coordinator can intervene during the filming of a scene if they feel like it is too much and the actors are not comfortable performing a nude or intimate sequence.
In an interview, the actors Jacob Elordi and Sydney Sweeney said that Amanda made them feel safe and comfortable while filming nude and intimate moments. Sydney said that a coordinator provides an extra layer of comfort and security while filming such scenes.
However, some actors were not comfortable filming nude scenes. Let us see the actors who initially hesitated to do the show.
Actors Who Felt Uncomfortable With Euphoria’s Nude Scenes
Some actors were uncomfortable with the nude scenes in Euphoria and expressed their discomfort to the creator Sam Levinson, and Sam understood their concern and agreed to cut the scene from the script. Here are some actors who were initially reluctant to shoot nude scenes.
Minka Kelly revealed she was supposed to get naked in her first scene of the series. Although she wanted to do the scene, Kelly asked Sam Levinson, the show’s creator, whether she could keep her dress on, and Sam agreed and filmed the scene gracefully without showing her naked.
Although Sydney Sweeney had no discomfort shooting a nude scene, she believed that critics and fans overlooked and underappreciated her performance as Cassie because she got naked onscreen.
Actor Brian Bradley left the show because he was uncomfortable shooting scenes that were not the part of the script he read. Later HBO replaced Bradley with Aglee Smith for the role of Chris McKay.
Actress Chloe Cherry was supposed to be shoved naked, covered with blood, into a vent. Chloe and her co-star, Tyler Chase, discussed with Sam doing this scene with her clothes on, and Sam agreed to cut the naked part from the script.
Thus far, we have discussed the nudity and comfort of the actors in the show. Now let us examine whether Euphoria truly represents the teens and their experiences?
Does Euphoria Truly Represent the Real Teen Experiences?
Euphoria has depicted the real teen experiences and issues they face in high school life. Although it has exaggerated several aspects of teenage life in the series, these issues are real issues that teenagers go through. The series highlights many common problems among teens like addiction, social media, and mental health issues that were suppressed in the past.
Many teenagers who have watched the series feel the same way. They believe that the series correctly shows how easily teens get into the trap of addiction and substance abuse and face troubles in their life because of that. As we saw in the case of Rue in the series, she is still a drug addict even after spending her summer holidays in the rehab center. It shows how drugs destroy Rue’s relationship with her family, and the makers successfully portray her thoughts and feelings to the audience after she gets high.
Euphoria emphasized the mental health issue faced by teens. Many teens have mental conditions like anxiety and depression. Sometimes depression among teens can turn into bipolar disorder at a young age if not dealt with correctly. Rue has BPD in the series, and the makers accurately showcased her behavior as a person with BPD.
The series showed Kat, a student who gained 20 pounds of weight during her holiday. After her weight gain, she becomes self-conscious because of being overweight. Even her boyfriend breaks up with her. It is not something new as teenagers, especially girls, regularly go through the efforts to fit themselves into society’s ideal (read toxic) beauty standards.
However, Kate soon starts writing fan fiction on Tumblr and instantly becomes one of the most popular writers on the platform. It is also a message to teenagers that, like Kate, they too should believe in themselves regardless of other people’s opinions about them.
So far, we have talked about how the series represents the miseries of teenage students in the Euphoria series. But here are some good things that the series has taught us and reminds us that it is not about drugs, sex, and mental health issues.
Is Euphoria All About Drugs, Sex, and Trauma?
No, Euphoria is not all about drugs, sex, or mental trauma, and it teaches us the value of confidence, friendship, and family.
The series portrays the true meaning of friendship, as we saw in the case of Rue and Fez’s friendship. As Rue’s friend, Fez stands by her side and truly cares about her, which helps Rue to stay away from drugs and live a happy and drug-free life. Another friendship that taught the teenagers about true friendship is Rue and Lexi, and Lexi always stays with Rue even in her bad phase.
Each character in the show has a unique personality and look, but one thing that is common among all of them that stimulates the audience is confidence. The teenage phase is one of the most challenging phases of life because, when young, it is difficult to avoid being bullied by peers and society. The series includes the story of Jules, a transgender girl who is comfortable and confident with her identity, and another girl Kat, a self-conscious overweight teen, who learns to get comfortable in her skin and blossoms into a confident woman. These two characters teach us to believe in ourselves, no matter what others think about us.
Families directly impact teens’ behavior, as we saw in the series, how Nate’s father is the root cause of his aggression, and how Chris’ father pressurizes him to pursue a sporting career in football.
It shows that a flawed family could destroy the life of a teenager. To blossom into their best, teens need to have a good and healthy relationship with their families to share their issues and feelings with them.
Euphoria shows us how easily teens can get addicted to drugs and destroy their life. The series warns that addiction can start from unexpected places. Rue became addicted to drugs by taking her father’s medicine while she looked after him. It also teaches us that addiction can be cured by showing compassion. However, Jules’ endless love and support dragged Rue out of drug addiction and made her realize the true beauty of life without drugs.