So…What Exactly Is Drake’s Role on ‘Euphoria’?
• HBO’s Euphoria debuted last week.
• Drake is an executive producer of the show.
• But…what is his actual role here?
With the premiere of their provocative new drama Euphoria, HBO just might have a hit on their hands. Behind a major star like Zendaya, who’s built herself into an influencer as well as a talented actress with big-time projects like the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home, the show has a sturdy base. But it’s also played up the involvement of a certain rapper-slash-NBA fan-slash-former Degrassi star in a major way.
Drake’s name, throughout the entire rollout of the show, has just been thrown in there. It was there during the show’s end credits, he was there, smiling at the red carpet premiere, and most headlines associated with the show have made sure to mention his name.
But what, exactly, is Drake’s role?
We know that the creative driving force behind the show is creator Sam Levinson, who’s said that much of the show’s addiction storylines were mined from his own life, and who had already established his dark, chaotic, teen drama mood with his film Assassination Nation.
We also know that outside of a very cringe-worthy cameo in Anchorman 2, some brief cringe-worthy acting in music videos, and, yes, some OK appearances on SNL, Drake has hardly interacted with the film/television side of things since his last appearance on Degrassi, which was back in 2009. Which brings up our question, once again: what is Drake’s role here?
Yes, it’s certainly possible that Drake’s Degrassi pedigree would make him a worthwhile producer on this teen drama project. He grew up on that show, and saw how it’s done. But also how likely do you think it is that Drake is sitting around a writer’s room, crunching up pieces of notebook paper, and screaming “NEXT!” like he’s J. Jonah Jameson? Not very likely. Still, I wonder.
It’s also possible, that much like on Euphoria‘s fellow HBO series, Insecure, that Drake was a major contributor to the show’s soundtrack. Insecure has had great music throughout its run, and that came early thanks to assistance from Solange. This could be Drake’s role. But is it?
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Let’s look at some of the evidence. In an interview with WWD, Maude Apatow, a main castmember of Euphoria and daughter of Judd, said that she only saw Drake on set once.
“I only saw Drake on set one time, but he came completely unannounced and I was so nervous,” she told the publication. “I turn around and he was standing there and I was like Oh my god. I was freaking out.”
A cast member only saw the executive producer on set once? OK. That’s fine. At least now we know he was there. But what did he do? How did Euphoria use Drake’s entertainment world expertise? He’s one of the most famous people in the world—there’s got to be some way the show could take advantage of that, right?
Maybe he could use that eye for talent to pick out the show’s star. That would be a good use, right? In an ET article titled ‘Why Zendaya Is Grateful to Have Drake as an Executive Producer on Euphoria,’ the author paraphrases, saying that the rapper was ‘one of the loudest champions for Zendaya to be cast in the title role,’ which has to be somewhat miscommunicated, as the title—Euphoria—is not representative of Zendaya’s, or anyone’s specific character. But I digress. Zendaya’s quote from that same article does not seem to back up the author’s paraphrasing: “I don’t know if he was involved in the casting, but I will say we’re lucky to have someone who believes in the show,” she told them. Hmm. Hmmmmmmm.
An Associated Press video from the show’s premiere showed Drake glamming it up, as he does, and also played quick clips from three of the show’s stars. Zendaya talked about how she met him on set once, in a hurried manner, Hunter Schafer talked about how she met him on the set, once, in a hurried manner, and Storm Reid said that she “can’t wait to meet him,” meaning that she was walking the red carpet alongside the executive producer of the show that she is a star on, and had not yet met him. OK!
So we don’t know if Drake was involved with the casting, and we’re sure that he was only around set enough for a main cast member to see him once-ish, and we don’t really think he was spending a ton of time brainstorming in the writers room. But, and thank god for this, we can confirm that he threw the cast a wrap party, and he was handing out cash.
“He gave away, I don’t want to say how much bread he gave away, but he gave us some money at the wrap party,” actor Algee Smith, another Euphoria cast member said in an interview with TMZ. “It was hefty. You could buy a couple cars, I’ll say that.”
One other thing we can confirm: Drake is as excited to show off his involvement in the show as everyone else seems to want to show off his involvement with the show. He posted this Instagram on the day of the show’s premiere last week:
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Tonight one of the most remarkable creations I have ever been apart of will be shared with the world! The first episode of @euphoria airs tonight on @hbo at 10pm on both coasts. 🤯🤯🤯 @zendaya 🥳💙
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And he made this comment on one of Zendaya’s posts, where she and co-star Hunter Schafer are looking at themselves in awe on a skyscraper advertisement:
You know what? I think I’ve got it figured it out. Drake has been so good at his role as the top fan for the Toronto Raptors—he got in the head of some of the team’s opponents, and the Raptors just won the title, after all—that he’s taken on that same role, of Top Fan, for Euphoria. Right? I guess so.
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