The beauty of the empathy-drivenEuphoriais not only powered by the cinematography of Marcell Rév and the direction of Sam Levinson. The editing team of the HBO show stitches the show together to capture the blend of fantasy and character reality.

In a featurette of the official Euphoria YouTube channel, the editing team and Levinson talk about the meticulous editing process behind the show’s second season. Editors Julio C. Perez, Laura Zempel, Aaron I. Butler, and Nikola Boyanov recall how they constantly reworked the narrative threads to focus on the state of mind of each character. 

Check out the full-featurette here.

The editing of Euphoria 

The first season of Euphoria focused each episode on a single character’s story and how they fit into the larger story being narrator by Rue (Zendaya). The second season, however, shifts away from this structure in favor of a loose, character-driven reality that is blending fantasy and reality together

Euphoria season two feels particularly distinct due to its intense and sudden shift in visual tone, often jumping sporadically between gritty melodrama to surrealism. 

“It’s like almost completely different genres from one scene to the next,” Butler says during the featurette.

Part of the polarizing visual touchstones came from the collaboration between Levinson and his editorial team. Often, the editorial team would edit dailies and send them to Levinson, who would then rewrite the script to match what he was seeing. Levinson rewrote episode 207, titled "The Theater and its Double," over 40 times to line up with the story the editors had woven together.

“It’s very unusual for a television show to function this way,” Zempel says about the Euphoria editing team’s collaboration and influence on the story and visuals of the show. The team approached scenes on an emotional level, meeting the morally grey characters in their headspace to let the audience fall into the character’s unique perspectives of the world around them. 

The editing process behind season two of 'Euphoria''Euphoria'Credit: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

The focus of the editorial team was to keep the story in line with the heart of the characters. The trick to nailing the heart of the story was finding a balance in the tonal shifts and visual mood, which was enhanced by shooting on Kodak Ektachrome film stock rather than the digital camera which was used in the first season.

“We’re often oscillating between irony and sincerity,” says Perez. 

Euphoria’s emotional realism is built from the tension, hopes, and wishes of the characters that exist within it. The editorial team keeps this in mind as they edit together scenes of characters watching themselves in a play, Nate's (Jacob Elordi) nightmare sequences, and the imagination of characters being brought to life through music cues. 

These connective tissues allow the editors to not only flex their creative muscles but also become an essential element of the storytelling process. 

Euphoria’s second season exists in a dream-like state compared to the first season, and the editing highlights this perfectly. The balance of humor and tension creates extremely human moments that allow the viewer to examine the characters and their choices without unguided judgment. 

With the third season of Euphoria coming out in 2023, it will be interesting to see how the editing team weaves together the surreal reality of these teenagers who are in the throes of their lives. 

How do you feel about the editing team’s work on the second season of Euphoria? Let us know in the comments!  

Source: Euphoria YouTube