With HBO's gritty teen drama 'Euphoria,' stars Zendaya and Hunter Schafer aren't afraid to raise eyebrows

”Euphoria” has spurred controversy ahead of its Sunday premiere for its gritty use of sex, drugs, and nudity to illustrate the grown-up situations Generation Z must navigate.

Inside the energetic Crossroads restaurant on Melrose Avenue, Zendaya and her costar, Hunter Schafer, are deep in discussion about the need for a dark, uncensored exploration on teen life — an antidote to the glossier version typically pushed on television.

While “Euphoria” features an ensemble of teen characters, it centers on the intimacy that develops between Rue and Jules, who become each other’s confidantes and advocates amid the pressures of adolescence.

Schafer’s Jules is a trans girl who recently moved into town and is battling her own demons, including a habit of spending her nights having sex with closeted older men and a harrowing past of self-harm.

She appeared in 2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” as Peter Parker’s love interest, MJ — a part she’ll reprise in the forthcoming sequel “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” She also starred in 2017’s big-screen musical “The Greatest Showman.” But plotting her post-Disney career after “K.C.

Beyond the shocking nature of the series, the two hope “Euphoria” provides a sobering window into the anxiety and stress facing young people today.

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