HBO’s hit teen drama Euphoria covers a lot of heavy and mature subject matter, especially surrounding drug abuse. Colman Domingo plays Ali in the show, a recovering drug addict who acts as a mentor and sponsor to Zendaya’s main character Rue.
The two share many deep and profound moments in the series, and in a new interview with Vulture, the veteran actor revealed that he prepares for 30 to 50 hours before every episode.
“We both prepare individually and then we come together on set,” Domingo explained of his and Zendaya’s process when getting into character for an episode. “I’m from the theater and I study a lot. For the special episode, I rehearsed for at least 120 hours. In typical episodes, I may put myself through my own rehearsals of 30–50 hours for a few scenes.”
Domingo went on to explain that he and Zendaya work closely together to get the scene just right by getting into the moment together.
“Then I show up with Zendaya,” he continued. “We read the scene and we’re very open with each other. We don’t set a lot of things — it’s a real listen-response exercise. We rehearse ourselves in such a way that on the day, we’re in the moment with each other doing a dance together.”
Zendaya and Domingo’s characters have shared some heart wrenching moments together across Euphoria’s two seasons, including one in the most recent episode where their characters reconcile over the phone after a falling out.
The actors shared that they actually shot that scene in the same room, which he says is normally not done for a scene of that nature.
“We actually did it in the room together,” Domingo said. “Zendaya and I sat there and looked at each other, and we played the scene. I wanted to make sure there was a nice long pause before he says, ‘I forgive you.’ He’s got to let her live in that space of being uncertain, to see if it’s really worth it to her. Does she really want this? He’s examining forgiveness and saying, ‘Be in your truth and I honor that truth, and I can also forgive you.’
Domingo also told Decider in a separate interview that after they finished that scene, they shot another one from the episode that was more warm and intimate of Rue’s family having dinner with him. He said they were able to nail it because of the chemistry he and Zendaya have fostered.
“I think we shot that scene, wild, outside of shooting the dining room table scene,” he explained. “So the moment we were done with that [scene] Zendaya and I went to another — I think it was Jacob Alordi’s house? — set. We sat there and it was still very important that we actually had that communication in the room together. We were looking at each other and I was saying the lines, even though it was wild.”
Euphoria airs on HBO on Sunday and will conclude its second season on Feb. 27.