The actors of Euphoria are used to work laying out heavy topics onscreen—from addiction and mental health to sex and violence. For two intense seasons, these dramatic and impactful scenes have kept us on the edge of our seats. For Sydney Sweeney, one moment of the HBO drama’s season 2 sticks out to her as being the most influential to her personal and professional development.
Speaking with Deadline ahead of her appearance as an award nominee at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, Sydney divulged what it’s like to play Cassie Howard and how she relates to the troubled teen. “Cassie, I think, is one of the most relatable characters to me because I search for love in other people and acceptance, and I’m scared of being alone,” she says.
The actor explained that she doesn’t use her own life experiences or memories to create a role so that she can “separate” herself once the cameras stop rolling. Even so, the emotions of her characters in specific clips still affect her. For Sydney, the scene where Cassie is sitting in her bathroom and surrounded by flowers is the moment that opened her up to Cassie’s feelings the most.
“I don’t know what it was about it, but that scene just completely broke me—or Cassie,” Sydney said. “After that moment, I knew that I had so much sympathy for her and empathy for her even though she was making so many terrible decisions.”
“I hoped that maybe there was an ounce of the audience that would be able to feel empathy for her as well,” Sydney added.
Fans know Cassie to be a bubbly, talkative character, which is why the bathroom scene starkly contrasts her usual appearances on the show. When asked what the silence of that scene meant for Cassie, Sydney said, “I think that it was the fear of being alone.”
“She went so deep inside herself that she’s worried that she’ll never be able to come back from it. And I think that she knew that she was falling down this path and she is willing to continually fall,” Sydney told Deadline.
Despite the scene being the most emotionally charged for Sydney to portray, the actor felt two other scenes were more difficult for her to film due to nervousness. “One was the hot tub scene because I had to have a tube in my mouth and it was filling my mouth with disgusting chunks of food and I don’t even know what,” she said. “And then I had to hold it in my mouth while the scene was happening and act as if it wasn’t happening and then throw up everywhere.”
The second scene she was most scared to film was “the sequence where Cassie goes up onstage and ruins her sister’s play,” because despite acting onscreen, Sydney has “terrible stage fright.”
“There was an actual audience in the auditorium that we built. So I was very nervous, but Maude [Apatow] and I, we had a great time together. She made it more enjoyable for me,” Sydney said.
The Euphoria starlet also took the time to express her gratitude for her role in the series, saying, “She [Cassie] has taught me to let go of insecurities that I may have. And she has taught me to fully allow myself to just engulf myself in her emotions.”
“It’s been a really beautiful experience to be able to play out all of her different, crazy emotions that she’s been having to deal with. It’s been really fun.”
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