Barbie Ferreira is addressing her exit following Euphoria‘s second season and the negative attention it garnered both in the press and among fans.
While appearing on the latest episode of Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard, the Nope actress opened up about her decision to leave the show, which had brushed up rumors that there were on-set clashes with showrunner and writer Sam Levinson. Ferreira, who played Kat on HBO’s hit high school drama, says the massive amounts of attention and intensive scrutiny of the details being reported around her exit “was really rough for me.” But ultimately, the choice was a “mutual decision” around her character Kat, “who I love so dearly.”
More from The Hollywood Reporter
- ‘Succession’ Star Unpacks That “Dangerous and Terrifying” Final Season Power Grab
- ‘Somebody Somewhere’ Star Jeff Hiller on How the Show Is “Queering It Up Through Humor”
- ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ Likely Ending With Season 12
“I don’t think there was a place for her to go,” the actress says at one point during the podcast. “I mean, I think that there were places you could go. I just don’t think it would have fit into the show. I don’t know if it was gonna do her justice. And I think both parties knew that. I really wanted to be able to not be the fat best friend. I don’t want to play that and I think they didn’t want that either.”
Ferreira added that if the opportunity was there and depending on what material she would’ve been working with, she would have continued to play Kat “for as long as I was asked.” But right now, the ensemble’s size, Levinson’s own writing interests and her vision for Ferreira complicated things too much.
“I felt [it] was a kind of a struggle for both parties. Sam, me — it was a struggle to find a continuation of her,” the actress explained. “That was actually really hurtful watching and seeing the fans get upset.
“I don’t know. I just felt like maybe I overstayed my welcome a little bit. So for me it actually felt good to be like, ‘OK, I get to not worry about this and we both don’t get to worry about this,’” she continued, “because Sam writes for things he relates to. I don’t think he relates to Kat. I relate to Kat. So I had to follow my own path.”
Coming to that mutual understanding, Ferreira noted was “really freeing for both of us,” despite how much it personally hurt due to her own and the fans’ love of the character “with all her good and bad — mostly bad, which I love.” It also made not just her feel happier but “everyone,” as they could now be free of “press making it into this drama that it’s not” and she could “get to do my own thing.”
She added, “It was a character I’ve never seen on TV before and I don’t know if we’ll ever get something like that in that specific way that was so edgy. At first it was really hard. I’m like ‘OK, now what do I do?’ And then I really honed in on what I want and who I want to be and what kind of actor I want to be, and the kind of person I want to be and it’s been really healing from all the chaos.”
Ferreira says that despite headlines, she and her former castmates were close and it’s her belief that certain criticism around the explicit series, along with sexism, were at play in the rumor milling about her exit being related to on-set behavior. She also explained that the reason she hasn’t addressed it more in-depth publicly is because she “got sucked into this drama that I never asked to be in.” And while she ultimately tried to avoid fueling it, “it kind of has taken on a life of its own,” morphing into “chaos” that has made her look difficult to work with. “I don’t want people to think I do that kind of thing,” she said.
While she generalized about the “lore” around her experience on the show, the former Euphoria star did take time to address one allegation that involved her supposedly walking off the show’s set. “I actually did not walk off set,” she said. “I sprained my ankle once and I had to go get an X-ray. Maybe that’s what they mean.”
She also spoke to the production conditions on the show, which she said involved “trying out a lot of things” in season one, which she found “so fun.” Describing it as an acting boot camp, Ferreira said there was no rehearsal period when shooting the pilot and the cast “was encouraged to not taking any acting classes.” That includes no working on scenes beforehand. “I think it works in that way because it is so real, and so personal. As soon as I found Kat as a character, it was super second nature to me.”
She added that it felt like the “best acting classes ever,” even as production stretched on season one from a planned five months to nine. “We thought it was gonna be shorter, so it just kept extending,” she added. “It was a long time, and season two is the same way. Now, they knew what kind of time they needed, but it was a lot of trying out things in season one.”
While discussing the events of the season two finale, Fez actor Angus Cloud told The Hollywood Reporter that the cast typically gets two or three scripts at a time, but on the finale script, things kept changing, and we “didn’t get the script until we were filming.” Fellow Euphoria star Jacob Elordi also shared that when it comes to filming, “what everyone’s seeing on television, the shots that people are talking about, the feelings that they get, the conversation that’s around the show, that’s because certain shots take 30-something takes.”
HBO previously defended the production following its season two finale amid a report of 18-hour days, along with the production failing to provide meals or allow bathroom trips on the set of the show. According to The Daily Beast, those allegations prompted “several complaints” made to SAG-AFTRA and a union representative visiting the L.A.-based set.
“The well-being of cast and crew on our productions is always a top priority,” the cabler said in a statement at the time. “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. There were never any formal inquiries raised.”
The series has been renewed for a third season, with Emmy-winning star Zendaya telling THR of her hopes for the future of her character, Rue: “I think it’ll be exciting to explore the characters out of high school. I want to see what Rue looks like in her sobriety journey, how chaotic that might look.”