On HBO’s Euphoria (aka the show that D.A.R.E. hates), it’s not exactly a shock to see someone’s nipples or wiener. But there have been some actresses on the show who decided the nudity wasn’t necessary to the scene or their character’s development, and they chose to keep their clothes on. Like Minka Kelly, who was blindsided on her first day at work with a production note to get naked.
In the second season of Euphoria, Minka plays the rich mom who hires Maddy Perez (played by Alexa Demie) to babysit her young son. There’s a scene early in the season when we’re first introduced to Minka’s character, Samantha, in which she returns from a party and asks Maddy to unzip her dress. The scene plays out pretty inoffensively. Maddy unzips her dress, you see a flash of bareback, and that’s it. But Minka tells Vanity Fair, Euphoria director Sam Levinson asked for way more, which was a total surprise to Minka when she showed up on set. via BuzzFeed:
“[Sam] thought it would be more interesting if my dress fell to the ground,” said Minka, adding that she hadn’t been told about the scene beforehand and was only given “vague” information about her character’s role. “That was my first day as a guest on this new show, and I just didn’t feel comfortable standing there naked,” she said.
“I said, ‘I’d love to do this scene, but I think we can keep my dress on,’” she recalled telling Sam. “He was like, ‘Okay!’ He didn’t even hesitate. And he shot a beautiful scene and got exactly what he wanted.”
Hearing that Sam immediately wanted Minka stripped down to her yearly physical best during her very first day of work feels a little weird, but as Minka notes, she didn’t receive any push-back when she refused. Minka isn’t the only one who has pushed back, though. Last month, Sydney Sweeney, who plays Cassie, spoke about her experience with getting naked on the show. If you’ve seen Euphoria, you’ve seen Cassie be naked. According to Sydney, she was supposed to be much more naked, way more of the time, until she told Sam Levinson that it wasn’t necessary. via BuzzFeed:
“Sam is amazing. There are moments where Cassie was supposed to be shirtless and I would tell Sam, ‘I don’t really think that’s necessary here,'” she recalled. “He was like, ‘OK, we don’t need it.’ I’ve never felt like Sam has pushed it on me or was trying to get a nude scene into an HBO show. When I didn’t want to do it, he didn’t make me.”
Another actress from the show has also previously noted that there was an expectation from Sam and the script to be naked where nudity wasn’t totally necessary. Chloe Cherry, who plays my favorite Restylane-plumped dizzy junkie Faye, revealed during an interview with The Daily Beast that she was expected to get head-to-toe naked on her very first day on set. Chloe began her career in the adult film world, and Sam Levinson reportedly cast her from seeing her on social media. Euphoria is her first major non-adult acting credit. Chloe said that the expectation to be fully nude felt so out of place, her co-star Tyler Chase (aka Custer) had to step in and request it get axed. via BuzzFeed:
Going on to recount meeting her onscreen boyfriend, Chloe revealed that her initial nude scene was scrapped after Tyler voiced his discomfort. “We just met and said, ‘Hey, how are you?’ and then shot the scene,” she said. “It probably would’ve been more comfortable had we had a little more time to know each other.”
“Sam wanted to do the scene with me completely naked and Tyler was like, ‘That’s a lot,’ so they decided not to,” she recalled.
Several people online thought it was a little presumptuous of Sam to establish boundaries that had not yet been established with actresses, and that it puts the responsibility on the actress to voice their discomfort and turn down the scene. Personally, I could do without most of the nudity on Euphoria, but maybe that’s just because I really don’t need to see any more fake dicks under harsh overhead fluorescent lighting. Also because I barely notice it as being critical to the story, but that could be because I’m often too busy shouting, “Could the Jacobs family get any more toxic??”