At least three actresses on US hit streaming show Euphoria have turned down nude scenes, commonly requested during their first scenes on-camera, whilst another has expressed discomfort at the way her scene was written.
Minka Kelly has joined castmates Sydney Sweeney, Chloe Cherry and Martha Kelly discussing their discomfort and refusal to shoot certain scenes requested by the show’s writer and director, Sam Levinson.
Speaking with Vanity Fair, Minka revealed one of her first scenes as Samantha, the glamorous young mother Maddy (Alexa Demie) babysits for, was “tweaked” on the day of filming.
“[Levinson] thought it would be more interesting if my dress fell to the ground,” she said of the scene, where Samantha asks Maddy to unzip her gown. “That was my first day as a guest on this new show, and I just didn’t feel comfortable standing there naked.”
Minka pushed back against doing the scene as it was written.
“I said, ‘I’d love to do this scene, but I think we can keep my dress on,'” she told the magazine. “He was like, ‘Okay!’ He didn’t even hesitate. And he shot a beautiful scene and got exactly what he wanted.”
Her story is reminiscent of both Sydney’s and Chloe’s accounts.
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In an interview with Britain’s Independent, 24-year-old Sydney – whose high school character Cassie had a “slut-shaming” storyline at the start of season two – said whilst she has never felt uncomfortable shooting scenes for the show, she did voice concerns to Levinson early on.
“I would tell Sam, ‘I don’t really think that’s necessary here,'” Sydney told the publication. “He was like, ‘Okay, we don’t need it.'”
Sydney admitted her reservations came from the “stigma” around actresses who get undressed on-camera: “When a guy has a sex scene or shows his body, he still wins awards and gets praise. But the moment a girl does it, it’s completely different.”
Cruelly, life imitated art for the actress when screenshots of her nude scenes circulated on the Internet after the episode aired, with people tagging her younger brother in the posts.
“That was the most hurtful thing that anybody could do,” she said. “What I do is completely separate from my family. My character is completely separate to me. It’s just so disrespectful and distressing.”
Levinson also requested former adult film star Chloe Cherry, who plays teenager Faye, get naked for her first scene on-set. It was her on-screen boyfriend who questioned the “excessive” nudity, according to CheatSheet.
“We just met and said, ‘Hey, how are you?’ and then shot the scene,” Chloe recalled. “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. But I was covered in fake blood and just felt so good being on set.”
Variety also revealed the bathtub scene between Martha Kelly, who plays Laurie, and Zendaya’s character Rue was supposed to be “creepier” than it was.
“There is that scene where Rue is getting into the tub, and Laurie injects her with morphine — and in the script, it is even creepier, because Laurie is helping her undress and get in the tub, and it is approaching this gross pedophilia vibe. Initially, I was just like, ‘I can’t do this,'” Martha said.
Whilst neither Martha nor Zendaya pushed back against the scene’s direction, it was shot in a less confronting way.
“I spoke with [Levinson] and decided not to ask him to change anything, because I feel very strongly that I’m more of a comedian than an actor, so I would never tell a writer or a director if they could change something for me because I feel so lucky to have been invited in the first place,” Martha said. “I was happy when Sam told me we were going to shoot the bathroom scene slightly out of focus, and that some stuff was altered because of that pause we took in filming due to the pandemic.”