CULTURE

Hunter Schafer Envisioned a New Kind of Euphoria for an A24 Book


Hunter Schafer.
Photograph by Richard Burbridge; Makeup by James Kaliardos; Hair by Ward.

In March 2020, right at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Hunter Schafer spent around two months inside her Los Angeles apartment “painting, drawing, writing, storyboarding—anything that I could get my hands on,” Schafer told W in September of last year, when we interviewed her for our TV Portfolio. She explained the details of her artistic process during this, as she described it, “big creative outburst phase”: how she played the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion in the background on her projector with the sound off while she did oil paintings, the way she spread a large roll of paper on the floor and doodled with a thick black marker for three nights.

Schafer, who grew up reading comic books (her father was “an Aquaman fanatic,” she said,) has always sought out visual art as a creative outlet. During lockdown, putting artwork on a piece of paper was a coping mechanism; what she created was not necessarily meant for public consumption. But now, drawings from Schafer’s personal sketchbook take center stage in a set of eight books titled The Euphoria Books: S1 Boxed Set, released by A24 today.

This collection of books, which contains one for each episode of season one, features behind-the-scenes photographs (some of them shot by Jacob Elordi during the show’s production,) Q&As with cast members like Zendaya, Alexa Demie, and Barbie Ferreira, plus crew members like makeup artist Doniella Davy. For her part, Schafer has included a series of sketches that center the HBO show in which she plays Jules, the charming best friend and love interest of Zendaya, whose character is named Rue. Although Zendaya-as-Rue is certainly central to the show’s appeal, Schafer’s Jules emerged as an equally intriguing person in creator Sam Levinson’s universe: a transgender teenage girl searching for friendship and recognition while engaging in a series of trysts with older men.

Courtesy of A24

The drawings, which live under a section titled “I Feel Something,” contain images referencing scenes from the show, along with some font treatments imagined by Schafer herself.

Courtesy of A24
Courtesy of A24
Courtesy of A24

The artwork is certainly a far cry from the doodles she made during the beginning of the pandemic. All the same, the images included in A24’s Euphoria provides a window into the visual mind of a one-of-a-kind actor. “I don’t really know what to call [my art],” Schafer told W back in September. “It’s kind of become its own thing.”