Sam Levinson, the creative force behind HBO’s hit series Euphoria, has broken his silence following the tragic and untimely passing of Angus Cloud, one of the show’s breakout stars. In a deeply personal interview published in People Magazine, Levinson bares the attempts made to help Cloud, including an HBO-sponsored rehab stay and significant rewrites for the series in hopes of reigniting Cloud’s enthusiasm for the future.
On July 31st, the world mourned when the Alameda County Coroner determined that Cloud had died of an accidental overdose caused by a mix of potent substances. The depth of Cloud’s struggles, coupled with the creative decisions made by Levinson, bring into stark relief the fine line between art and real life.
Fezco's Unexpected Journey
Many remember Cloud for his portrayal of Fezco, the sympathetic drug dealer navigating the turbulent waters of high school life, love, and substance abuse. Levinson originally intended for Fezco to face a dark fate early in the show, but as he expressed, “Angus was supposed to die at the end of the first season, but I loved him so much.
Angus was perfect for the role; his sheer talent compelled me to rethink the character’s trajectory”. Euphoria, drawing heavily from Levinson’s own teenage years battling addiction, mirrors Cloud’s struggles eerily.
Another cast member, Dominic Fike, disclosed his own drug challenges. This blurring of life and fiction became even more palpable when Lilita, Cloud’s best friend, admitted they had consumed cannabis during shoots, although Levinson vehemently denied knowledge of this.
The darkness didn’t end there. Lisa, Cloud’s mother, narrated how an injury Cloud suffered while escaping the police triggered his descent into addiction. As the second season commenced, Levinson recognized the signs of Cloud's deteriorating state and implored him to enter a rehab program, even if, as Levinson recalled, “He didn’t want [sobriety] as much as we all wanted it for him”.
In a heartfelt turn of events, Levinson recounted altering the tragic fate planned for Cloud's character Fezco, trying to motivate and give purpose to an actor he saw spiraling. "The one thing I knew is he loved making this show.
We got to keep him around. He’s too special. It doesn’t matter what the story is,” Levinson remarked. As the dust settles, Zendaya, another prominent face of Euphoria, remembered Cloud warmly, “He was one of the most unique and pure-hearted people.
He felt like a little brother instantly. I’m lucky because I got to experience the most beautiful parts of him." This tragedy underscores the pervasive issue of substance abuse, the blurring of life and art, and the profound impact an individual can have on a collective.