As hard as it may be to imagine, the role of Rue on HBO’s popular drama Euphoria almost went to another actress and not Zendaya—or at least that’s the word on the street, according to the casting director in charge of the show.
During a recent interview with Variety about this year’s Emmy nominees, casting director Jennifer Venditti revealed that although the Malcolm and Marie star was the very first person considered for the role, Rue was almost portrayed by an up-and-coming actress who had a “similar” trajectory as the show’s character.
“There was a young woman who had been street scouted by my team who was a magical person and had a similar trajectory as Rue and had come around to the other side,” Venditti says, referring to the character’s drug addiction struggles. “But with a TV show, it can be many years [of work]. We all loved her, but when we went through the rigor of the process, we didn’t know if she could handle what it would take in terms of stamina.”
She then went on to explain how she and Euphoria director Sam Levinson tried to connect the young actress with an acting coach in the hopes that it would better prepare her for the emotionally taxing role, but ultimately, neither of them were convinced or confident that she was ready to handle it. Enter Zendaya, and well, the rest is literally history.
“It’s so interesting. A polar opposite. Because here’s Zendaya, who has none of the life experiences of Rue, who was able to dig into her toolbox and access it in such a beautiful way,” Venditti said.
In fact, it’s so beautiful that the Dune star has secured yet another Emmy-nomination for her role on the show. With this feat, she’s now become the youngest person to receive an acting nomination two years in a row.