TV & Movies

Minka Kelly Said It Was “Surreal” To Have A Euphoria Character Written For Her

The teen drama was already one of her favorite shows.

Minka Kelly's 'Euphoria' character was made just for her. Photo via HBO
Eddy Chen/HBO

If you’ve been delightfully surprised to see Minka Kelly on Euphoria this season, you’re not alone — upon finding out that the role of Samantha, Maddy’s babysitting client, was written specifically for her, Kelly was pretty shocked, too. “I was like, ‘Sam Levinson knows who I am?’” she told Vanity Fair in a Feb. 14 interview. “To be invited on one of your favorite shows is such a surreal thing.”

Though Samantha was originally intended to be a smaller guest role, more material (including that iconic pool scene in Episode 6) was developed after Euphoria creator Sam Levinson realized how well Kelly and Alexa Demie played off each other. “After our first day working together, [Levinson] said, ‘I want you to be the older, wiser version of [Maddy],’” Kelly said. “I was like, ‘Yes, please! I love that. I see so much of myself in this girl.’ ... I did my makeup like that in high school. I’ve also been in my share of toxic relationships.”

Maddy is clearly captivated by Samantha — who reveals that she’s a little bit more of a Cassie, at least as far as ill-fated love triangles go. (She, too, was involved in one during college, she tells Maddy.)

But there’s another, more meta element to Kelly’s casting. On Friday Night Lights, Kelly’s character, Lyla Garrity, is also a cheerleader involved in an affair — making her that much more of a natural choice for the Euphoria role 15-plus years later. That was NBC, though. This high school drama is unfolding on HBO, which often means nudity is involved (and questioned).

Just as Sydney Sweeney (Cassie) opened up about workshopping a topless moment out of a scene, so too did Kelly edit the script with the Euphoria creator. “I said, ‘I’d love to do this scene, but I think we can keep my dress on,’” she told Vanity Fair, referencing the moment where Maddy helps Samantha unzip her outfit. In an earlier version of the script, she’s left undressed, but Levinson respected her concern and agreed to shoot it differently. “He didn’t even hesitate,” she added.

Kelly didn’t reveal how long her Euphoria run may ultimately be, but if Levinson wants to keep extending it, there shouldn’t be many complaints.