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EUPHORIA BREAKOUT STAR ANGUS CLOUD’S HEARTFELT PERFORMANCE HAS EVERYONE ROOTING FOR HIM. THE FIRST-TIME ACTOR DISCUSSES BEING DISCOVERED ON THE STREETS OF NEW YORK, GROWING UP IN OAKLAND AND PLAYING A LOVABLE DRUG DEALER.
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Newcomer Angus Cloud has captured the hearts of fans with his breakout performance in HBO’s Euphoria. The Emmy-winning drama, helmed by Sam Levinson and produced in partnership with A24, depicts a messy, crazy life of drug addiction, love, loss, violence, sex and drama among a group of high school friends with star Zendaya, who plays Rue, at the center of the story. However, it is the heartfelt character of local drug dealer Fezco, also known as Fez, played by Cloud who has people on social media posting up a storm—and threatening to stop—if something were to happen to him in the season finale.
Season 2 premiered in January as the most-watched episode of an HBO series ever on HBO Max, with more than 14 million viewers (more than double the average viewership of the first season). When renewed for a third season, Francesca Orsi, EVP of HBO Programming, said, “The entire cast and crew of Euphoria have taken Season 2 to extraordinary heights, challenging narrative convention and form, while maintaining its heart.” At the center of the cult-favorite series is exactly that: heart, which comes from its empathetic characters.
The award-winning drama lifts the veil on real-life portrayals of American teenagers, including Fez, who doesn’t want his friend, the 17-year-old addict Rue, to self-destruct, and on many instances refuses to give her drugs. When asked about playing a drug dealer with morals, Cloud says, “It’s a complicated relationship. He doesn’t want to enable her bad habits, but he doesn’t want to leave her in the dust.”
“He has to, or feels like he still has to be there for [Rue] in one shape or form,” Cloud adds of his character’s need to take care of the people around him. Throughout Euphoria, Fez plays the role of protector. He takes care of his homebound comatose grandmother, along with younger-brother figure Ashtray, played by Javon Walton. He even goes to the extent of taking in a drug addict, Faye, who starts living with him as well.
In real life, Cloud and Fez share many similarities. The first-time actor grew up in Oakland and was cast after a casting executive found him walking on the streets of New York City. “I was walking with my homies and some lady asked me if I wanted to come to her little studio or whatever it was,” he recalls of his 2018 encounter.
At first Cloud was skeptical and not trusting of the exec who was in search of a teen to play the nuanced role of a drug dealer with heart: “I talked to her for a while to try to figure out if she was really being honest with me, so I took her phone number and I called her up the next day and went over there,” he says. “She asked me some questions and… they filmed that…” and the rest was history for the first-time actor.
Cloud says he never dreamed of being anything in particular when growing up and that he could never imagine that this life-changing encounter would bring him here just a few years later. “It’s weird,” he says. “I really had no big dreams to be an astronaut or nothing like that, so I’m just going with it.” When discussing his life in Oakland, Cloud describes a tight-knit community, one that’s similar to what’s shown in Euphoria. “Life was good,” he says of growing up with his family, including his two sisters. “I’m still really close with all the people I was with in high school.”
For playing the older-brother figure, he was able to draw from his familial relationships. “I wouldn’t say it was easy [to play that role], but me and Javan are real close so it was pretty natural,” says Cloud. Walton shares the same sentiments toward his costar: “We vibed right away. I was only 11 when we started filming Season 1, but I liked that he didn’t treat me like a little kid; he always made me laugh.”
Euphoria was a first for both actors, who shared most of their scenes together. “Fez is a good dude that just got caught up in some bad stuff,” Walton adds. “Angus brought Fezco to life in a way I don’t think anyone else could. He’s not afraid to ask for direction because he’s super humble and just wants to deliver the best performance.”
As for Fezco’s love interest, Lexi, played by Maude Apatow (daughter of famous parents Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow), it’s an unlikely match that has fans rooting for the couple dubbed #Fexi. “I ship [root for] him and Lexi, because I think Fez deserves that happiness,” Walton notes. As for Apatow, she reveals, “When I first met Angus, I thought he was really quiet and I was kind of intimidated by him, but as soon as we talked, we hit it off.”
For Cloud to embody Fez as well as he did, Apatow says, “He’s a brilliant talent.” She’s also amazed that it’s his first turn as an actor. “He’s very intuitive, and acting with him is so much fun because he’s so present. It’s been a pleasure being able to watch him work, and this season, work with him. I feel like he’s family.”
In the second season of Euphoria, a softer side of Fez—who’s now a bona fide heartthrob both on and off screen—is seen. The storyline reveals more of his background and what circumstances brought him to the point of selling drugs to survive. “I just think drug dealers—I feel like probably a lot of them are nice,” Cloud says of breaking stigmas. “People mistake being tough for being an asshole or whatever, but sometimes you gotta have a tough exterior.” With that mindset, Cloud is able to portray a likable dealer, one whom viewers are rooting for every step of the way.
As for Cloud, whose fate on the series is unknown at press time, his career outside Euphoria is flying high. He recently wrapped Daniel Brown’s horror thriller Your Lucky Day and is set to star opposite Tom Hardy, Stephan James and Pete Davidson in the Vietnam war drama The Things They Carried.
"PEOPLE MISTAKE BEING TOUGH FOR BEING AN ASSHOLE OR WHATEVER, BUT SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA HAVE A TOUGH EXTERIOR.” –ANGUS CLOUD
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