‘Euphoria’ Season 2 Star Zendaya Says ‘Rue Has Lost Control of Who She is,’ Compares Filming the Episode to a ‘War Zone’

Euphoria Season 2’s Rue Bennett (Zendaya) was the focus of episode 5, “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird,” as her family and friends confronted her about her drug use. The tense 55-minute episode featured Rue on the run and the havoc she wreaks on the people in her life. From her mom, Leslie (Nika King), and sister, Gia (Storm Reid), to her friends like Cassie Howard (Sidney Sweeney) and Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie), no one was safe from Rue’s wrath.

[Warning: This article contains spoilers from Euphoria Season 2 Episode 5.]

'Euphoria' Season 2 Episode 5 featured Rue Bennett, played by Zendaya, on the run. Rue sits slumped against a wall in a production still from the episode.
Zendaya as Rue Bennett | HBO/Eddy Chen

‘Rue is ripping her life apart’ in ‘Euphoria’ Season 2 Episode 5, according to Zendaya

Zendaya believes Rue has “lost control of who she is” at this point in the series. This episode, in particular in Euphoria Season 2, highlights just how much “Rue is ripping her life apart,” according to Zendaya.

“It was so intense and scary to tackle, and obviously something that would be incredibly emotionally taxing, but also physically taxing,” Zendaya told Entertainment Weekly. “Also, I care about Rue and I hate when she’s in pain. And I think this whole episode, there’s so much pain and it’s bubbling to the surface, and it’s also crossed with her withdrawing, which is extremely physically painful.”

Creator Sam Levinson didn’t pull any punches when depicting the trauma addicts and addicts’ families and friends experience. King spoke to Entertainment Weekly as well and said, “It’s definitely not pretty at all, but Sam realized that that needs to be seen. We need to see this Bennett family really go through it because that’s the only way the audience and people who are also going through this in real life understand. And they’re like, ‘Wow, this is authentic. This is real.’ “

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Zendaya compared filming ‘Euphoria’ Season 2 Episode 5 to a ‘war zone’

Zendaya shined as she portrayed a broken and desperate Rue in Euphoria Season 2 Episode 5. However, the character’s storyline has taken a toll on the actors in the series. Her empathy as a person often causes her to take on other people’s emotions and feelings. This includes the characters, like Rue, she brings to life on screen.

“The reason I’m an actor is I’m quite empathetic person and what I often do, I take on a lot of other people’s pain and a lot of other people’s stress and fears and anxieties, as well as my own, and I think [that scene] just allowed me to just kind of release all of that. And I’m very grateful that I’m in a space where I feel comfortable and safe, and with actors and actresses that I’m obviously very close with. After every take, we’re hugging each other, we’re talking through it, we’re embracing, checking in, because obviously it’s like a war zone,” Zendaya explained.

Where does Rue go from here?

Rue continues to dig herself deeper into trouble, and toward the end of Euphoria Season 2’s midpoint episode, she finds herself at Laurie’s (Martha Kelly) house. Laurie’s a new character this season, but her presence doesn’t bode well for Rue’s future. In a previous episode, Rue made a deal with her to sell a suitcase filled with drugs. Rue agreed, but before she left with the drugs, Laurie told her if she didn’t get the money Rue owes her, she would have Rue “kidnapped by some very sick people.”

Now that Rue’s desperation and withdrawal have shown Laurie that Rue cannot sell the drugs, it looks as if Rue’s life is genuinely in danger. Catch all-new episodes of Euphoria Season 2 on HBO and HBO Max on Sunday nights.

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