Sydney Sweeney is drumming up a lot of Emmy buzz for her performance as a vulnerable, sometimes off-the-rails Cassie in Euphoria season 2.
She became a polarizing character throughout the season, which was something very different than her reception in season 1. In an exclusive chat with Shadow and Act, the actress noted how interesting it was to see viewers “flip” on her character while also still having a soft spot for her.
Sweeney told us, “I think that I thought that she had already hit rock bottom in season 1 [laughs]. I was not aware that she could go even further. I think it was exciting to be able to watch the audience go on this ride with these characters, especially Cassie, because she’s a character that you felt sorry for in season 1. I mean, she went through such terrible things and dealt with very adult matters. Then going into season two watching everyone flip on Cassie, but then also still root for Cassie was such an interesting thing to watch, and I enjoyed it. I saved a lot of different memes and things that I thought were funny.”
Cassie goes through the ringer–both literally and figuratively in season 2– including the hot tub vomit scene and another scene which is probably the most meme-ed moment of the season.
‘I have two different types of challenging scenes,” she explained. “It was physically challenging during the hot tub scene because I had this tube in my mouth and they were filling me with throw up and I had to act with the throat tube, and I’m crying and it was just disgusting [laughs]. But that was a fun challenge. I enjoyed that. And I was also thinking about this earlier, just making sure that I was tracking Cassie’s rollercoaster, because the episode 3 scene where I say ‘I’ve never, ever been happier,’ was the first scene we filmed coming back season 2. I had to somehow start with that, and then for the next eight months, [I had to] track going back and forth through all the different episodes, all the different scenes [and] making sure that her rollercoaster and her performance lined up next to each other. It was crazy. It’s funny, [and] because it was the first scene, I didn’t forget it, but I forgot about it after the entire year of filming. And then when it came out and it became just this iconic moment, I was like, Oh my gosh!’ I never would have thought it was the first scene and I didn’t think about it.”
One thing that there has been a lot of discourse about is the nudity when it comes to the characters, and particularly, a lot of this is in reference to Cassie. However, Sweeney combats any ideas that she doesn’t approve of it all and notes that she believes every instance is crucial for the character.
“I think that’s a really good question and point, because I have seen people who were exploited by these scenes, but I make every decision,” said the actress when we asked about these conversations that have taken place. “I have every right to say yes or no, do it or not do it, and if I didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t do it. I think that for Cassie’s story and Cassie’s character, her scenes and her moments of intimacy are important to her development and who she is, and that’s what I find important. I think that if it’s in the benefit of the character, then that’s what I’m after. I’m here to live somebody else’s life.”
And she’s already looking forward to how the character progresses in season 3 after seeing her manipulative side show in season 2.
“There was this little bit of manipulation that Cassie played with Nate toward the end of the season,” she said. “I never knew Cassie had that in her, and it was interesting to discover. She had this weird power where she learned that she could maybe scare Nate in a way, and I think that there’s something there that could be fun to explore a bit more. I think there’s a darker side to Cassie that could be interesting and fun to play as an actor.”
Outside of Euphoria, Sweeney started a production company, Fifty-Fifty Films, and has been setting up projects already.
“I’m currently looking for anything that sparks my interest right now,” she said of the venture. ‘I think that I’m approaching it the same way as I have approached being an actor– trying to play as may different types of genres and characters as possible. I want to do the same for my production company. Whether it’s horror, comedy, fantasy, sci-fi, I want to try out anything and everything and create characters that either mean something to me, or I know it will mean something to other people. So once I find what I love the most to do, I’ll be doing that.”
Euphoria season 2 is now streaming in full on HBO Max.