HBO's new teen drama Euphoria is shocking everyone, including one cast member who quit the show mid-shoot due to its graphic sexual and violent material.
This week, HBO launched its new drama Euphoria, which stars Zendaya. The show is as over-the-top as the advertising promised, and then some. It includes unflinching depictions of teenage characters having sex, taking drugs and getting violent. Even on HBO, the show floored some viewers, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, one cast member felt the same way.
Brian "Astro" Bradley reportedly left the series in the midst of filming. Bradley is a former contestant on X Factor and also a rapper. The 22-year-old was cast in the pilot, but once filming got started he decided that it was not for him. So far, the details of his departure are not clear, but some sources said that he was uncomfortable with scenes that were added later in production.
Bradley was replaced with actor Algee Smith, known for his role in The Hate You Give. He re-shot Bradley's parts, including the sex scene with Sydney Sweeney. The two actors play the character Chris McKay, who is best friends with Nate on the series. A freshman in college, the pilot fleshed out his strained relationship with his father and his girlfriend, Cassie.
Smith spoke to Bossip about the role, and the controversy surrounding the graphic show. He said that he connected with his character immediately in his first conversation with showrunner Sam Levinson.
“I have this scene in one episode and it really challenged me as a man," he admitted. "It was an uncomfortable scene for me, but I had to learn how to separate myself and just be the actor because someone might be dealing with that type. I had to get over my masculinity issues, as a black man we often have to realize it’s okay to be in this position for a minute.”
While the show's raw approach to sensitive material is bold to some, it is excessive to others. A few are questioning certain elements of the pilot, wondering if they are gratuitous or graphic for the sake of it. Zendaya offered a pre-emptive warning to viewers just before the premiere, taking to Twitter to explain what they were in for.0comments
"Just a reminder before tonight's premiere, that Euphoria is for mature audiences," she wrote. "It's a raw and honest portrait 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."
Euphoria airs on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.