‘Euphoria’: Hunter Schafer Shared That She Sought Out Mental Hospital During the Pandemic Before Writing the Upcoming Episode With Sam Levinson

Euphoria is the HBO show the blew up among Millennials and Gen Z, especially when it comes to TikTok. From the makeup and the music, especially the stars of the show, Euphoria has fans’ attention. 

And even though COVID-19 has shut down a lot of productions or delayed them, Zendaya, Hunter Schafer, and others were able to work on smaller portions of the show. These special episodes are the same length as a regular one, but they’re spread out. The first part premiered before Christmas, and the second half is coming out Jan. 22 on HBO Max.

One special thing about this upcoming episode is that Schafer co-wrote it with creator Sam Levinson. She actually did that instead of go to a mental hospital during quarantine. 

Hunter Schafer hit a low point during quarantine and researched mental hospitals before Sam Levinson called her

Hunter Schafer on 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' on Jan. 20, 2021
Hunter Schafer on ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ on Jan. 20, 2021 | Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

While on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Schafer talked about her truck and about the pandemic a little. And when she talked about this episode, she touched on how she wasn’t doing well when approached with the Euphoria episode. 

“I have to be honest, I was not doing super well mentally at that time, you know, as quarantine has put a lot of us in that place,” Schafer said. “I had taken it upon myself to research mental hospitals in North Carolina, I was like, ‘It might be a good decision to do that with where I was at.’”

At the time, she road-tripped in her truck to North Carolina and while staying there, as her mental health got worse, she started to seriously consider going to a facility. She researched them on Google, but there were a lot of bad reviews. Levinson ended up calling her that very day, though, about writing an episode. 

“Sam called me later that day and I was like, ‘Sam, I’ve been researching mental hospitals for, like, two hours. Like, why do they all have terrible reviews? Like, I can’t find any that are good,'” Schafer remembered. “And he was like, ‘Well, Hunter no one likes being at mental hospitals. No one is going to leave a good review for a mental hospital.'”

She didn’t end up going to a mental hospital, which she’s grateful about. Although she did note the imporantance of them for those that do need to go. She was happy she was able to put her “energy into something” creative instead.

Levinson was inspired by a poem Schafer wrote and so he asked her to co-write the episode

Initially when Levinson called, it didn’t seem like he was going to have her write it with him right away. However, in an interview with GQ after Part One came out, he revealed that after talking with her, they got caught up in a conversation for “several hours” and he got stuck on a poem of hers. 

“We were talking and she said something that was based on a poem she had written when she was sixteen about the ocean and its femininity and strength,” Levinson said. “And I said, ‘Well, this ought to be actual dialogue. Do you want to just write this thing together?’ Four days later, we had a draft of the episode that we co-wrote.”

In the teaser clip Fallon showed, Jules talks about how being transgender is “spiritual” but not “religious.” It belongs to just her and it’s all just “been about” staying alive for her. The ocean is heavily featured in the trailer for the episode as well, so, again, Schafer’s poem and real life will play a major role. 

Levinson also said he wanted to explore a side of Jules that showed viewers, once and for all, that she’s not a villain


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In the same GQ piece, Levinson said that once it became apparent that the pandemic would alter the way Season 2 was supposed to originally go, he came up with the two-part plan that fans are currently seeing. And the plan always focused on Rue and Jules, arguably the most important pair on the show. 

However, Levinson described that one time he saw Jules trending on Twitter, with a chunk of people talking about how she’s a villain. He was taken aback by that and set out to right that. 

 “The idea that people could watch the show and walk away feeling that she was a villain was so appalling to me that I thought, ‘I’m gonna write an episode that forces the audience to look at the world through her eyes and understand the burden of loving an addict,’” he said.