HBO Denies 'Toxic Production' Claims About 'Hellish' Season 2 Shooting of 'Euphoria'
10:41 GMT 05.03.2022 (Updated: 11:48 GMT 10.12.2022)
"Euphoria" is a hit HBO show, with its season two finale in late February driving fans crazy. However, a Friday report by The Daily Beast alleged that this emotional journey took a heavy toll on the actors, claiming that production was "hellish" and "toxic".
HBO has weighed in to defend the production team of its spicy drama "Euphoria", denying the claims of toxicity during the shooting voiced earlier by several cast and crew members.
"The well-being of cast and crew on our productions is always a top priority", HBO said in a statement cited by the outlet. "The production was in full compliance with all safety guidelines and guild protocols. It's not uncommon for drama series to have complex shoots, and COVID protocols add an additional layer. We maintain an open line of communication with all the guilds, including SAG-AFTRA [the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists]. There were never any formal inquiries raised".
The disgraceful claims emerged on Friday in a report by The Daily Beast, as several sources asserted that working conditions were far from blissful, with workdays sometimes stretching to 18 hours and the production team failing to provide proper meals and bathroom breaks.
According to the report, the conditions were described as "hellish" by dozens of background actors. Sources claimed that there were so many complaints about the work environment that a SAG-AFTRA union representative had to show up on set.
A spokesperson for the union told The Daily Beast that "advocating for professional performer work categories like background actors and enforcing contractual provisions is one of SAG-AFTRA's core functions" - something that includes "the routine enforcement of contracts at the worksite through our National Field Services Department".
"All actors should benefit from the protections our members enjoy, and production companies signed to our agreements need to follow our safety protocols, wage and hour rules, and other protections — regardless of an actor's union status", the SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said.
The union, however, did not clarify how many - if any - complaints were made concerning the production of "Euphoria" or how long its representative was on set.
© AFP 2023 / MONICA SCHIPPERWriter and director Sam Levinson, actress and singer Zendaya and moderator Elaine Welteroth speak onstage at the New York screening of HBO's "Euphoria" on June 14, 2019 in New York City.
Writer and director Sam Levinson, actress and singer Zendaya and moderator Elaine Welteroth speak onstage at the New York screening of HBO's "Euphoria" on June 14, 2019 in New York City.
Sources told The Daily Beast that people eventually began "dropping like flies", with the production team having to recruit more and more extras.
"I'm not the most important person there, I know where I am on the totem pole. But it got to a point where I was like, I'm still a person, I'm still human. Please let me go to the restroom, don't tell me I can't go for 30 minutes or tell me I can't get a snack when you're not going to feed me and it's 4 a.m. It just very much felt like we didn't exist as people", one extra lamented to the outlet.
Others described the "Euphoria" set as "the most disorganised" they'd ever seen where hardly "anybody knew what was going on". Other people claimed that background actors were "hiding in the bushes" so that they would not be called on set.
"There were times after 14 hours we were told, 'This is the last scene, we're done after lunch', we took lunch, waited around two and a half hours, and then we went back to set. It felt toxic to me because I don't think anybody was really happy to be there", another source said.
Some of them also blasted Samuel Levinson, the show's creator, for failing to provide a shot list and therefore causing long days.
"Euphoria" has been dominating the list of HBO's hit shows, with the explicit drama drawing diverse but strong emotions from viewers: from fascination and obsession to criticism and discontent over the storyline and particularly spicy scenes. The TV series revolves around a number of American teenagers going to school and having to deal with drug addiction, sexual issues, and dramatic vicissitudes of adulting.