Jacob Elordi isn’t just another heartthrob. The 23-year-old actor has the grit to travel to dark places on the HBO TV series “Euphoria,” where he plays Nate, a high school jock with anger management issues. More recently, Elordi switched courses to reprise his role as Noah in the Netflix rom-com “The Kissing Booth 2,” a sequel to the hit 2018 movie (a third installment has already been shot). Up next he stars in the indie drama “2 Hearts” (in theaters on Oct. 16) and in “Deep Water,” a thriller with Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, scheduled for release later this year.
For Variety’s Power of Young Hollywood issue, Elordi talked over Zoom from his home in Brisbane, Australia, about preferring to play the bad guy.
“Euphoria” is set in high school. What shows about high school did you watch growing up?
I watched “High School Musical.” I was actually a big fan of that. I watched “Gossip Girl” start to finish. It’s intense. The soundtrack on that is crazy, by the way, if you go back and watch it. Also, Chuck Bass. What an irredeemable character. I believe he rapes two girls in the first episode, and then by the last season, you love him. How do you do that? What kind of arc is that?
What’s it like playing a morally questionable character?
When I was younger, I didn’t question it so much. I just wanted to work and make movies. If the script is acknowledging them — and they’re meant to be there, and not just an outcome of bad writing — then I think it’s much more interesting to play it. I’d hate to play someone who’s morally correct all the time. We do shitty things all the time to each other.
Did you have to audition for “Euphoria”?
It was super simple. It was really just like a conventional audition process. I went down to the casting office, fumbled through my lines and ended up getting called back. And yeah, it was just like that. Sorry, I have a cough. I think I have this asthma thing going on. It’s not the virus. Please don’t jump to any conclusions.
What can you tell us about “Euphoria” Season 2?
Sam [Levinson] changes scripts like a madman. I could tell you something now, and it would not be at all relevant to what I’m going to read when we go back. It’s ever changing, even up until the day that we’re shooting.
Head over to Variety to read the rest of the interview!