On Sunday night’s Euphoria, the second episode of HBO’s boundary-pushing new drama, Jacob Elordi took center stage with a breakout episode on the highs and lows of his character, football star Nate Jacobs.
In the hour, the show explored Nate’s tumultuous relationship with his father (played by Eric Dane), his complicated dynamic with girlfriend Maddy (Alexa Demie) and his willingness to go to the greatest lengths to protect her, stalking and severely beating a young man after Maddy said he had raped her.
Elordi, star of Netflix’s The Kissing Booth, caught up with The Hollywood Reporter to break down that brutal scene and talk dealing with on-set nudity, taking on the portrayal of toxic masculinity and moving on from the hit rom-com.
What was it like to film the scene where Nate beats up Tyler, the man who Maddy says raped her?
It was one of the scenes I was most excited to shoot. It was interesting because Lukas [Gage] —the actor who plays Tyler —and I are actually quite close in real life, so we spent weeks apart from each other. We wouldn’t even go and have a beer together because we wanted to cultivate an environment that was intense and kind of like we didn’t know each other very well. It was quite enjoyable to film because in the beginning, there’s something kind of comical about it and it’s one of the main parts where you get to see his psychopathic nature without him actually being deeply upset, I suppose. He’s relishing in the moment and the success of what he’s done so it was actually, surprisingly, one of the easiest scenes to fall into.
Where is Nate emotionally in that moment?
He’s quite methodical, and I think his emotions get the better of him when he’s dealing with women. His girlfriend, Maddy, makes him get quite unhinged and then every time he sees Jules he isn’t really sure how he feels, so it’s more loaded emotionally. With Tyler, I think it was the kind of thing where he isn’t intimidated or frightened by him, he’s just like a chess piece that has to be moved. While it’s built from anger, I think he’s actually quite calm and that’s why he can talk to him so long in the room, because he knows exactly how it’s going to go. He’s laid out every single option and exactly what he needs, so it’s almost enjoyable. It’s kind of like a lion playing with a mouse or something like that.
He seems to get darkest around Maddy. Why does she have such a hold on him?
Alexa and I spoke early on and we decided they were in love, in love with each other, it was kind of just as simple as that for us. They chose each other. The funny thing about her is she is on the receiving end of a lot of his violence, but she’s quite an interesting character herself and they go together in their own poisonous way. She’s toxic herself in her own relationships, and it’s funny because that gets overshadowed a lot; she’s kind of awful to him as well because he’s awful to her. I think that’s how they compliment each other, in the toxicity, and I think that’s what strays from what his dad has done to him. That’s just him as a teenager and both of them caught in a relationship that they know isn’t good but that they can’t stop. It’s the be-all and end-all when you’re a teenager, it’s like every person you love is high-intensity and the end of the world if you’re not with them.
In this episode, you also have some intense sex scenes and a locker room scene where you’re surrounded by naked men. How was that to shoot? And how did having an intimacy coordinator on set impact the situation?
Yeah, I think she had to review every single penis before putting it on the show. For me, it was interesting because that scene was actually very real and the look on my face and the way that I was feeling was very real. The energy in the room of that many big men jumping and yelling and slapping you — nudity aside — I’m nothing like Nate and it was so intense. I didn’t realize locker rooms could be so intense, but it was actually quite hilarious. I don’t care about that kind of stuff, and it’s funny reading all of the reviews now — everyone’s like, “There’s this many penises,” but when you’re there, it was just hilarious. I think it’s a funny scene and I’ll definitely never forget it.
We learn a lot about Nate’s childhood and upbringing in this episode. What was your reaction to learning his past?
It’s probably the biggest part where I’ve found empathy for him. I think it’s really sad, even aside from finding the sex tapes, just the way his father speaks to him about having to win all of the time and needing to be on top and in control. It made me sad and made me have a lot of empathy for him knowing that everyone on the surface wants to damn him because of his actions, which are awful, and not that it’s an excuse but he has a very, very solid reason as to why he behaves the way he behaves. So kind of finding that out after the pilot when you might think he’s just more of a cliche, you realize that he has a backstory as well and a reason why he does what he does.
We also see more about his relationship with his father. How does that father-son dynamic impact who he has become?
I think it consumes him. I think his relationship with his dad sort of informs all of his behavior, down to the relationship he has with Maddy, it’s kind of dominant and controlling. His dad has such a need for order and it’s been passed down to him and he does the same thing, tries to keep everything in order. I think his dad is the reason for 100% of his problems.
Nate is kind of the stereotypical jock in the first episode, but we see there’s a lot more beneath the surface. Why was that important to you and the show to really dive deeper than most teen shows do?
For me, it was really important because I would never play another jock on screen if it wasn’t more. I’ve read a lot of stuff that’s like “the jock, the jock,” so I’m excited for people to see it. It’s important to me because in the term “stereotypical jock” and “toxic masculinity,” that kind of character can get written off straightaway, the same way as that kid can get written off in real life. If you are that person, and all of a sudden you’re always that guy, and no one has ever really taken a beat to think about where that person comes from. You’re always the bad guy when you’re the jock or have toxic masculinity, but I think it’s important to show that that person comes from somewhere as well. It’s almost like an unspoken thing and they’re usually used as a trope to show a villain or a humorous character, when really there is a real boy there who has fallen victim to ages of toxic masculinity which has been passed down and there’s a reason why he is how he is. And there’s so much more thought that has to go into it when you’re playing it, it’s more of a person than a Hollywood trope.
You had your breakout role in The Kissing Booth, which is also about high school romance. How has it been to tell totally opposite stories about high school?
It’s two completely different experiences. The Kissing Booth was the first film I ever made, it was sort of my ticket to Hollywood so I was really grateful for that. It’s almost like righting my wrongs a little bit too, because the character in The Kissing Booth is awful and it’s never really explained. He’s kind of idolized and made into a hero, so I suppose this show is showing why.
The episode ends with the reveal that Nate is the one texting Jules on the dating app. What’s next for the two of them?
It’s kind of the question that I asked myself and Sam and I talked about all season. I think it’s beautiful. I think that texting sequence is beautiful and as for what’s to come, I don’t know. Truly, I’m not even saying that in the contractual Hollywood way. I truly don’t know.
A lot has been made about the sex and drugs aspect of show but what do you hope Euphoria says about high school today?
At first I just wanted people to watch it and enjoy the show, but after reading everything, I hope it wakes some people up. I’ve read a lot of things, I literally read a tweet that was like, “Why can’t we make a show about a bunch of kids who read the bible, abstain from sex and are good to their parents?” but it wasn’t a joke, they were literally saying that’s what the show should be about. I hope for the kids it lets them know that we know — to the 14, 15, 16 year olds in high school — I know how it is and I’m there with you. I’ve seen a lot of parents’ tweets that are like, “Not my kid, not at my high school,” and I think it’s cool to not to tell them what to do or how to do it, but let them know that we believe them and we know.
I’ve added HD screencaps of Jacob from the first two episodes of Euphoria as well as a behind the scenes featurette from episode 2. Enjoy the photos!
This June, HBO’s Euphoria will propel an already impressive cast into superstardom. The show — produced by Drake — follows a group of teenagers (played by Zendaya, Algee Smith, Storm Reid and more) who’re navigating the minefield of experiencing first-time independence, while trying to define who they are.
Given a contemporary update over your classic high school tropes, Euphoria’s inclusive storyline follows authentic facets of life like addiction, affairs and LGBTQ+ relationships as well as slut-shaming and body shaming. Our cover star Jacob Elordi plays Nate, perhaps one of your more typical high school characters, a “jock” type and a straight up bully, but Elordi assures us things are more complex than they may seem.
We won’t know until it airs on 16 June, but pre-order the Summer issue of Wonderland in the meantime where we get existential and lost in a DMC with The Kissing Booth star.
– Source / Buy Magazine
Jacob attended the Euphoria premiere in Los Angeles. I’ve added a bunch of photos from the premiere. Enjoy!
HBO doesn’t make teen TV. It makes sprawling historical dramas with timeless yet prescient themes. It makes gritty mysteries featuring detectives who realize the biggest mystery of all is trying to unravel themselves. It makes television about (and for) upper-middle-class women who sip merlot on their porch while contemplating their textured inner lives. It does not make shows about the time Becky walked in on Serena giving a handy to her boyfriend at Tommy Filbin’s pre-Halloween rager.
And the most prestigious of all the prestige networks has been content to let the CWs and Freeforms of the world handle all of those high school concerns while it worries about trying to figure out a way to get Nicole Kidman more Emmys.
Yet, as streaming has disrupted the way we watch television over the past few years, so too has it disrupted traditional notions of audience segmentation and target viewers. As it turns out, the same people who enjoy watching Carrie Coon navigate the end of the world also sometimes like to watch Becky and Serena battle it out for prom queen. Raise your hands if you have both a college degree and strong feelings about Riverdale.
So, perhaps sensing that there’s an audience out there for the first truly prestige teen TV show, HBO has ordered Euphoria to series. Adapted from an Israeli series and co-produced by Drake (who knows a thing or two about groundbreaking teen television that goes there, as he recently reminded us), the series will star Zendaya as a pathological liar who ropes everyone around her into a world of sex, drugs, and social media.
Zendaya alone is a selling point, being one of the true icons of Generation Z, but this is HBO. It turns out that the cast is completely packed full of social media savvy teen icons and promising young up-and-coming actors. Here, get to know the rest of the cast of Euphoria, who may be poised to become the most talked-about teen TV cast ever.
Just a few months ago, no one knew who Jacob Elordi was. Then Netflix released The Kissing Booth, a teen rom-com whose viral success (along with Elordi’s real-life relationship with co-star Joey King) has rocketed the 21-year-old actor to the sort of fame that has netted him 5.2 million followers. The Jacob Elordi business is hot right now, and HBO is buying in at the exact right time.
HBO has picked up the drama “Euphoria” to series with both Drake and Future the Prince joining the show as executive producers, Variety has learned.
“Euphoria” follows a group of high school students as they navigate drugs, sex, identity, trauma, social media, love and friendship. It is based on the Israeli series of the same name from HOT that was created by Ron Leshem and Daphna Levin, both of whom are executive producers on the HBO version.
Zendaya will play the lead role of Rue. In addition, the show will also star: Maude Apatow as Lexi, Brian “Astro” Bradley as McKay, Angus Cloud as Fezco, Eric Dane as Cal, Alexa Demie as Maddy, Jacob Elordi as Nate, Barbie Ferreira as Kat, Nika King as Leslie, Storm Reid as Gia, Hunter Schafer as Jules, and Sydney Sweeney as Cassie.
This will mark the first TV producing credits for both Drake and Future the Prince, with the former known early in his career for his time as an actor on “Degrassi: The Next Generation” before becoming a world-renowned musician. Future the Prince serves as Drake’s DJ and manager.
All episodes of of the series are being written by Sam Levinson, who will also serve as executive producer. In addition to Levinson, Drake, Future the Prince, Leshem, and Levin, the other executive producers on the series are: Ravi Nandan, Kevin Turen, Hadas Mozes Lichtenstein, Tmira Yardeni, Mirit Toovi, Yoram Mokadi, and Gary Lennon.
Augustine Frizzell directed and served as co-executive producer on the pilot, which HBO ordered in March. A24 will produce for HBO.
Among HBO’s other recent series pick ups is the Joss Whedon series “The Nevers,” which was ordered earlier this month. The premium cabler also announced just last week that they are moving ahead on the long-gestating “Deadwood” movie. On the pilot side, HBO recently ordered the Danny McBride televangelist comedy “The Righteous Gemstones” as well as Damon Lindelof’s “Watchmen” and a “Game of Thrones” prequel from Jane Goldman.
Get ready for more Jacob Elordi on your screens because he’s just booked a role on a huge new TV show.
If you haven’t watched The Kissing Booth on Netflix yet, then you probably haven’t had time to fall in love with Australian actor and all round legend, Jacob Elordi. Jacob, who only has a handful of on-screen roles to his name so far, shot to internet stardom after starring in the Netflix teen romcom alongside his real life girlfriend Joey King and now it looks like we’re about to be seeing even more of him.
Yep, get ready for a whooole lot more Jacob screen-time because he’s just been cast in a brand new HBO show alongside side some very famous people and it’s a preeeeetty huge deal.
Jacob will be starring in HBO’s new show called ‘Euphoria’, an adaptation of the Israeli series of the same name. It’s described as the story of drugs, sex, identity, trauma, social media, love and friendship all told by a lying, drug addicted 17-year-old girl named Rue. Sounds spicy, right?
Zendaya has been cast as the lead role of Rue alongside a cast of 11 other huge stars. The pilot episode will also feature: Maude Apatow as Lexi, Brian “Astro” Bradley as McKay, Angus Cloud as Fezco, Eric Dane as Cal, Alexa Demie as Maddy, Barbie Ferreira as Kat, Nika King as Leslie, Storm Reid as Gia, Hunter Schafer as Jules, Sydney Sweeney as Cassie and of course, Jacob Elordi as Nate.
No other details about his – or anyone else’s – character have been released just yet. All the character names have been changed from the original version so it’s unclear who is playing who, or if the same characters will be used in the US adaptation at all.
The original series ran from 2012-2013 and only had 10 episodes. So far, HBO has only ordered the pilot episode of the series. If it does well, it could be picked up for a full season which means more Zendaya and a LOT more Jacob Elordi.