After almost three years, HBO's critically-acclaimed teen drama series Euphoria is officially back!
Picking up right where last year's special bridge episodes left off, season two of Euphoria continues to follow a group of messy, horny, complex teens, led by Emmy-winning actress Zendaya (who plays recovering addict Rue), as they navigate high school life with all of its modern (and oftentimes extreme) complications. Much like the first season, queerness is inherently a part of many of the characters' storylines and identities in season two, without it being made a big deal of, creating one of TV's more interesting and unfiltered looks at young LGBTQ+ life.
Out got the chance to speak to the jam-packed cast, including Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, newcomer Dominic Fike, Colman Domingo, Storm Reid, Nika King, Sydney Sweeney, Alexa Demie, Maude Apatow, Jacob Elordi, Eric Dane, Austin Abrams, and Angus Cloud, about the importance of bringing real, dramatic, and oftentimes messy stories to the small screen, whether or not they would be friends with their Euphoria characters IRL, how exciting it was to come back for a second season, and more.
"What I've always appreciated about Euphoria is they just allow the characters to be in love and figure that out as they go and make mistakes and they're flawed and there's nuance and there's depth to who they are and they love each other and they hurt each other, without emphasizing or overemphasizing anything for any political reason or statement," Zendaya tells Out about bringing queer representation to a TV show that isn't just your typical coming-out story. "It just allows them to just exist and to love each other in whatever complicated form that takes. And I think that that is something I always felt was really beautiful about Rue."
"I think there's also beauty in ugliness and in the mess that I think this show is good at exposing within its characters," Hunter Schafer, who plays Rue's girlfriend Jules, adds about getting to play a trans character whose identity and whose story arc isn't reliant on her gender identity and who gets to explore the complicated, and sometimes bad, part of her. "I don't want to watch TV about people being good people. I don't want to see only that one side of them that they'd show most of the world. I think that's why I trust this show to handle characters like Rue and Jules, or just all of the characters, because it illuminates not only the beauty, but also the ugly, and lets it all create some kind of like weird, fucked up, gorgeous mess that makes the show what it is and that's pretty parallel to life."
"I wish I had a show like this to watch these characters who are so full in their experience in being and smashing gender tropes and all these other things where you feel like, 'Oh, I can identify with that person and that person. I can be who I want to be,'" out actor and Zola star Colman Domingo, who plays Rue's mentor/Narcotics Anonymous sponsor Ali, says about how he wished he had a queer-inclusive series like Euphoria to watch when he was younger. "Honestly, the idea of even having actors who are openly gay play a character like mine, in many ways, I think that is also kind of new. I think that I really wish I had a show like this and I'm glad that young people have a show like this to find ways of being, ways of living, and also looking at something that is affecting not only young people in an enormous way, but affecting all of us in our culture, which is the disease of addiction."
Season two of Euphoria premieres January 9 on HBO Max!