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This HBO Star Requested Some of Her Racy Scenes Be Cut

Euphoria actor Sydney Sweeney spoke out against gratuitous moments involving her character.

The HBO series Euphoria has been stirring up controversy since it premiered in 2019, thanks to its depictions of sex and drug use amongst a group of teenagers. And in a new interview, one star of the series says she takes an active role in making sure that things don't get too gratuitous when it comes to her own character. Sydney Sweeney plays Cassie on Euphoria, a character who has dealt with provocative photos of herself circulating around her high school. In a recent interview with The Independent, the 24-year-old actor talked about when she's been willing to disrobe for the show and when she's spoken up about it being unnecessary. Read on to see what she had to say about making her voice heard and how Euphoria's showrunner responded.

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She speaks up when graphic scenes don't serve a purpose.

Sydney Sweeney at the LACMA Art+Film Gala in 2021
DFree / Shutterstock

Sweeney makes it clear in The Independent interview that she has never felt uncomfortable filming for Euphoria; the piece also notes that there is an intimacy coordinator on set. According to the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), an intimacy coordinator is "an advocate, a liaison between actors and production, and a movement coach and/or choreographer" for intimate and graphic scenes.

Sweeney explained of working with Euphoria showrunner Sam Levinson, "Sam is amazing. There are moments [in the new season] where Cassie was supposed to be shirtless and I would tell Sam, 'I don't really think that's necessary here.' He was like, 'OK, we don't need it'. I've never felt like Sam has pushed it on me or was trying to get a nude scene into an HBO show. When I didn't want to do it, he didn't make me."

She's felt ashamed after past projects.

Sydney Sweeney at the 2020 amfAR New York Gala
Ron Adar / Shutterstock

In the interview, Sweeney also mentioned that she hasn't felt as comfortable on other sets. "I've had experiences where I want to go home and scrub myself completely raw because I feel disgusting," she said without naming any particular films or shows. "I didn't feel comfortable with my cast-mate or the crew, and I just didn't feel like my character would be doing it. That made me even more self-conscious. I didn't feel like I was able to speak up."

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She's spoken about the importance of intimacy coordinators.

The cast of "Euphoria" at the series premiere in 2019
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

In another recent interview with Elle Australia, Sweeney talked about why it is necessary to have an intimacy coordinator on set for any scenes in which things get physical between two actors.

"It's important to always have an intimacy coordinator even if it's not a sex scene and it's making out or something like that," she said. "It adds another level of comfort (and they have a lot of mints and gum). I'm really lucky because all my cast mates are so kind and Sam [Levinson] is amazing. It's a very safe and incredible environment to do such scenes in and having the intimacy coordinator adds another level of 'I feel okay, I feel safe and this is for my character.'"

She doesn't want to be defined by her body.

Sydney Sweeney in a scene from "Euphoria"

Even though she has been unclothed on camera, Sweeney does not want those scenes to distract from her work as an actor. She earned critical praise last summer for her work on another HBO series, The White Lotus, and she feels that her work on Euphoria wasn't talked about in the same way because she showed her body.

"With The White Lotus, I felt like people were finally recognizing the hard work I've been doing," Sweeney told The Independent. "This is something that has bothered me for a while. I'm very proud of my work in Euphoria. I thought it was a great performance. But no one talks about it because I got naked. I do The White Lotus and all of a sudden critics are paying attention. People are loving me. They're going, 'Oh my God, what's she doing next?' I was like, 'Did you not see that in Euphoria? Did you not see that in The Handmaid's Tale?'"

She added that she believes there is a double standard and "a stigma against actresses who get naked on screen." Sweeney explained, "When a guy has a sex scene or shows his body, he still wins awards and gets praise. But the moment a girl does it, it's completely different."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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