‘Euphoria’: Zendaya’s Body ‘Takes on Anxiousness and Anger’ Playing Rue

Euphoria‘s leading lady Zendaya plays one of the HBO series’ most complicated and compelling characters, Rue. But being the star of the show sometimes weighs heavy on the actor, especially because Rue lives ever-present within Zendaya. Find out why Zendaya says some days her body is “just in it” and “takes on this anxiousness and anger” required of her character in Euphoria

Zendaya as Rue Bennett in Euphoria Season 2. Rue sits in front of a window wearing a black tank top.
Zendaya as Rue Bennett in ‘Euphoria’ Season 2 | Eddy Chen/HBO

Zendaya shares a connection to Rue 

“She lives in me in a weird way,” Zendaya told The Cut. “I don’t have to go searching for her.” 

How Zendaya feels about her Euphoria character doesn’t happen with every role she plays. “With the Spider-Man movies, I’ll talk to the director and ask, ‘Is that MJ-y enough?'” she explained. “I try to find it again. With Rue, she’s just there.”

Even in Rue’s most challenging scenes (of which there are many), Zendaya feels one with the part. “I can mostly shake it off,” Zendaya said. “But there are days where you’re just in it, and even if your brain knows it’s not real, your body takes on this anxiousness and anger.” But, as she revealed to the outlet, there’s a change coming for Rue. 

“The ending of the season was going to be very different and then halfway through, [creator] Sam [Levinson] and I were like, ‘We just can’t leave Rue here; we gotta put some f***ing hope in this show,'” she teased. 

Zendaya faced ‘a very tough day’ as Rue in ‘Euphoria’ Season 2

Some scenes require more of Zendaya physically than others, like the season 2 episode “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird.” Rue finds out her mom (Nika King) flushed $10,000 worth of drugs down the toilet amid her withdrawal. On top of that, the drugs weren’t hers to use. Knowing she owes drug kingpin Laurie (Martha Kelly) the money, Rue embarks on a fit of madness. 

On top of being emotionally taxing, the season 2 episode took a physical toll on the Spider-Man actor. “It was a very tough day,” Zendaya told Variety. “I mean, I beat myself up. I still have some scars on my legs and got quite a few bruises.”

Rue in 'Euphoria' Season 2 Episode 5 leaning against a wall sweating and looking in pain
Rue in ‘Euphoria’ Season 2 Episode 5 | Eddy Chen/HBO

“It was so intense and scary to tackle,” Zendaya continued. “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.”

Zendaya deserves an Emmy, fans declare 

Zendaya previously won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2020 for her performance in the Euphoria Season 1 episode “Made You Look.” After her performance thus far in season 2 — especially in episode 5 — fans are demanding the actor win another Emmy for her performance. 

“Zendaya just proved why she won that Emmy,” said one Redditor. “This episode got me scared, angry, and upset for Rue. Meanwhile, Maddy is about to release hell on earth and I’m here for it.”

“Completely relatable and horrific episode — I loved it,” says another Reddit user. “I hope Zendaya gets another Emmy!!!” 

“I’ve got goosebumps the wholeeee f***ing episode!!!” said another fan on Reddit. “I mean Zendaya deserves another Emmy for this episode.”

Stream Euphoria on HBO Max and watch new episodes weekly on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. 

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