I have to admit I was skeptical about Zendaya playing a drug-addicted teenager in HBO’s latest series Euphoria, but one episode in and she’s already got me hooked. No pun intended.
We’re used to seeing Zendaya play safer roles (like Michelle in the Spider-Man film series) and even when I think back to the actress’ slight badassery on The OA, it didn’t exactly set the precedent for a role as difficult and complex as Euphoria’s Rue Bennett.
The show is so deep, in fact, Zendaya issued a warning to anyone who might be thinking about tuning in.
“It’s a raw and honest portrayal of addiction, anxiety, and the difficulties of navigating life today. There are scenes that are graphic, hard to watch and can be triggering. Please only watch if you feel you can handle it. Do what’s best for you. I will still love you and feel your support,” Zendaya told her Instagram followers.
I second that motion.
Like Zen said, Euphoria kicks off as a completely unfiltered look at how young people are navigating life while dealing with the stress of mental illness, technology, addiction, and sexuality. If you can’t handle an authentic take on what life is really like for young people today, we suggest you put this one on your ‘To Watch’ list until you feel you can.
From where I’m watching, however, this is definitely the young superstar’s most impactful on-screen moment yet.
Tune in every Sunday at 10 p.m. on HBO and let us know your thoughts.