No warning was adequate enough for the season premiere of HBO's Euphoria. We are still reeling from many of the scenes in the series, which stars Zendaya, Sydney Sweeney, and Maude Apatow. But for one controversial moment in the episode, we have some answers to our questions. The premiere included a rape scene between Cal Jacobs (Eric Dane) and 17-year-old Jules (Hunter Schafer) in which Dane is seen fully nude. On set, the scene was aided by an intimacy expert, according to Entertainment Weekly, and despite the jarring and difficult nature of the experience, Dane said it was important to show.
"I’m willing to do anything that’s critical to the story and crucial to creating a very real and truthful feel to how the story is gonna go down,” he told EW. "I just don’t see how you shoot a scene like that without showing nudity. And, you know, it kind of matches the stakes. The stakes are so high, you can’t hold anything back, really."
His character's genitalia was prosthetic, but that didn't lessen the pressure of shooting the intimate and disturbing subject.
“Those scenes are very difficult to shoot,” he continued. “It helps to have one voice in your ear. One voice that you can express your feelings to, and somebody that is an advocate for the actors. It just simplifies a lot of things and makes for a safe and comfortable environment while shooting something that is fairly uncomfortable to shoot. And certainly, the stuff that we did in the pilot is no exception. It’s a pretty intense scene.”
The show is so sensitive that Zendaya issued a warning on Instagram and Twitter ahead of its premiere.
"Just a reminder before tonight's premiere, that Euphoria is for mature audiences. It's a raw and honest portrait of addiction, anxiety and the difficulties of navigating life today. There are scenes that are graphic, hard to watch and can be triggering. Please only watch if you feel you can handle it. Do what's best for you. I will still love you and feel your support."
The next episode of Euphoria airs Sunday, June 23 at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).