No subject matter has been off limits so far in HBO’s new drama Euphoria. Last week, that was limited mostly to drug and sexual content, but episode two took those limits to a new violent high. The episode saw Nate, the town’s signature jock with a few skeletons in his familial closet, track down and inflict a particularly violent beating upon another character, Tyler, who was last seen kissing Nate’s girlfriend, Maddy, in a pool.
As it turns out, Jacob Elordi, the actor who plays Nate, is close friends in real life with Lukas Gage, who plays Tyler. So, filming that particularly brutal scene took an extra bit of effort on both of their parts.
“We spent weeks apart from each other,” Elordi told The Hollywood Reporter. “We wouldn’t even go and have a beer together because we wanted to cultivate an environment that was intense and kind of like we didn’t know each other very well.”
The actor even told THR that at really enjoyed filming the scene, noting that there was ‘something kind of comical about it.’
“It’s one of the main parts where you get to see his psychopathic nature without him actually being deeply upset, I suppose,” he said. “He’s relishing in the moment and the success of what he’s done so it was actually, surprisingly, one of the easiest scenes to fall into.“
The beating comes after Maddy told Nate and her friends that she was blackout drunk when she hooked up with Tyler at the party, something that Nate uses to fuel his violence as revenge. Nate, in turn, tracks Tyler down, follows him to his house, and accuses him repeatedly of raping Maddy, since he believes that she was blackout drunk. Tyler refuses to admit to the accusation, and Nate brutally beats him up as the scene progresses.
Once he’s done, he displays further sociopathic behavior, taking a shower in Tyler’s home, and calmly dressing himself as Tyler lay there, bruised and beaten. Each Euphoria episode focuses in on a different character, and this week’s was Nate’s turn—that violent temperament was a key focus, and it was scary to see the episode bring it into action.
Elordi also said that the violence Nate inflicts on Tyler was some of the most methodical, because he’s essentially unaffected by any of his outside feelings. With Maddy, he frequently becomes unhinged, and with Jules, he doesn’t seem to know exactly how he feels (likely due to his history with discovering his father’s secrets at a very young age).
“With Tyler, I think it was the kind of thing where he isn’t intimidated or frightened by him, he’s just like a chess piece that has to be moved,” Elordi said. “While it’s built from anger, I think he’s actually quite calm and that’s why he can talk to him so long in the room, because he knows exactly how it’s going to go.”