ETONLINE – Euphoria season 2 has been building up to this moment, with Lexi’s (Maude Apatow) semi-biographical play taking center stage in the penultimate episode, “The Theater and Its Double,” written and directed by creator Sam Levinson. Austin Abrams, who plays Ethan, talks to ET about his show-stopping, homoerotic dance routine he performs as a version of Nate (Jacob Elordi) and how he feels about where things ended up between Ethan and Kat (Barbie Ferreira) this season.
After first appearing in season 1 as Kat’s geek-ish lab partner who takes an interest in her, Ethan has slowly grown into his own over the course of the first two seasons of Euphoria. While Kat and Ethan eventually got together at the winter formal at the end of season 1, their relationship quickly fell apart in season 2. And amid their breakup, he auditioned for “Our Life,” an original high school production written and directed by Lexi.
“For me, [Ethan]’s becoming a bit of an adult in a way,” Abrams says, explaining that “he’s going through a transformation of realizing what he actually [wants]. You know, there’s what you thought the relationship would be and what the relationship is. And I think he’s realizing what he maybe actually needs or wants from a relationship.”
As for Ethan’s interest in the play, Abrams says it’s an opportunity for self-expression. He thinks “it takes a lot of guts to be doing what Lexi is doing,” the actor adds.
But given that it’s pretty much about all of his ex-girlfriend’s friends and their relationships, Ethan knows there’s a certain amount of risk that comes with appearing in it. “He’s putting himself out there, like with the whole dance number and everything like that,” Abrams explains, adding that he’s a bit worried about “Nate, who obviously is a violent guy.”
That dance number, one of the more shocking and wildest scenes of season 2, sees a shirtless Ethan clad in football pants performing a homoerotic dance routine with a bunch of other similarly dressed young men to Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero.” The performance immediately elicits a rapturous reaction from the crowd while Nate watches on with increasing humiliation.
When Abrams first read the script, which originally had him performing in his underwear as he and the other dancers get “lathered down in oil and doing all these things,” he was terrified. “That’s not something previously that I had done in a long time, with dancing and stuff,” the actor says. “But it was also really exciting. So, it was a combination of those two things.”
Somewhere between the script and shooting, Abrams went from wearing his underwear to the football uniform, which came as a bit of a relief. “‘Cause I thought it was just going to be barefoot,” he says of having to dance in his “tighty-whities.” But after working with the choreographer, Ryan Heffington, he quickly became more comfortable with the scene.
Filmed over three days in front of an auditorium full of his co-stars and hundreds of extras, Abrams ended up having a great time performing the routine. “I love the dancers, I love Ryan and it was really fun,” he says, adding that when it came to “moving your body and moving your hips, there was something so freeing about it.”
“Austin’s music performance is everything,” Sydney Sweeney, who plays Cassie, adds. “He crushes it.”
When asked if there are any hopes for a reconciliation between the two, especially given that the series was recently renewed for season 3, Abrams has no idea where things go from here. “I hope there’s still more to do for sure. If there’s something with Kat, I think that’d be really interesting to see what that looks like, especially with this character feeling very differently and having the time to think about it once he’s out of the relationship.”
That said, it seems unlikely they’re getting back together in the finale, which will pick up where things left off right after Ethan’s performance. While Nate ends up walking out, Maddy (Alexa Demie), Jules (Hunter Schafer), Kat and Rue (Zendaya) all show different reactions throughout the play. Some are into it, while others are aghast or upset. And then there’s Cassie, who looks like she’s ready to burn the entire auditorium down.
Abrams agrees that the play is adding fuel to the fire when it comes to all the tension built up between this group of friends. “I feel like you see that,” he says. “It seems to kind of open everybody up and get everybody talking about all the things that they’re keeping hidden.”
While the actor doesn’t know exactly how the finale plays out (“At a certain point, we just got sent our scenes,” he says), he doesn’t think fans will be disappointed by what he saw. “There’s a lot of really good stuff,” Abrams says. “There are some more scenes that are really cool.