The star of the HBO drama shares how Lexi's season 2 arc is based on her time as an 'aggro' theater kid, and teases more to come with her relationships with Rue and Fezco.

"This is it people, it's f---ing showtime," yells the usually meek Lexi in the penultimate episode of Euphoria season 2.

On Sunday, viewers finally got a look at East Highland High School's highly anticipated alternative to Oklahoma, which star Maude Apatow jokingly tells EW is "the highest budget student show ever performed."

Maude Apatow Euphoria
Maude Apatow plays Lexi on HBO's 'Euphoria.'
| Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

While the actress spent season 1 in the background, with Lexi mostly being there to support her sister Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) and best friend Rue (Zendaya), season 2 called for Apatow and creator Sam Levinson to cook up an inventive arc for the character inspired by her teenage years. "All this stuff about Lexi getting aggro backstage, that was all just based on me in high school," says Apatow. "Once we talked about the idea, Sam went in and wrote it all." There were even other planned musical numbers, she reveals, but "Sam changed it a lot right before we shot it. So I was just sort of along for the ride."

Read more from Apatow below, including her role in making Fexi happen, what's to come between Lexi and Rue.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We finally got to see some of Lexi's play! When did the idea that this would be Lexi's season 2 arc first start? How long has it been in the works?

MAUDE APATOW: I'm trying to think. So Sam is great on the phone, and I wanted to call him when he was writing, just so we could brainstorm together different ideas of how the character could evolve. I thought it totally made sense for Lexi to be a theater kid. I was in real life, and the play is loosely inspired by my senior year of high school. We had a student-produced, directed, and written show, and I was the producer, and I was like a tyrant. Yeah, so it's loosely based on a true event.

The other aspect of it is that viewers get a little bit more of Lexi's backstory in the play. Were you already privy to the parts of Lexi's history that get shown in those scenes?

I think so. What I thought was really interesting that Sam did is we have this backstory with Lexi and Cassie's dad, and we get to see how everything that went down when they were kids, they saw it so differently. And they're the same scenes in my flashbacks and in Sydney's, and how both of the characters saw them completely differently, and how the same experiences affected them in different ways. I thought it was interesting how Sam did that.

Euphoria HBO Euphoria Season 2 Episode 7
Lexi's play within 'Euphoria' season 2 is titled 'Our Life.'
| Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

And I think going back even earlier, what first drew you to Euphoria, because you had worked with Sam on Assassination Nation, right?

Yeah. Sam and I Skyped in my dorm room my freshman year of college just about Assassination Nation because I read it and was like, "This is the craziest, most f---ed up, funny, insane movie ever." And I wanted to meet with him about it, and he was so great. I feel like I instantly hit it off with him, and he really understood me right away. And then I flew to New York and auditioned for him, and ended up doing a different part than I auditioned for, but I loved working with him. He's just so smart, and he's seen like every movie on earth. He just has so much knowledge and he's so passionate, and I think he's so funny too. I just have such a fun time working with him. 

And I remember on the Assassination Nation set, there were whispers about Euphoria, and I didn't really know what the deal was there. And then they were asking me to audition, but it was all very hush hush. I ended up auditioning a ton of times, so it was a pretty tough audition process, but yeah, I definitely knew I wanted to work with Sam again because I just think very highly of him and feel really lucky that I get to see him work because he's just so creative and talented. It's really cool to watch.

Was there always the promise of more for Lexi, or did the audience's interest in her in season 1 play a role in her getting spotlighted this season?

He told me when I signed onto the show that season 1 was gonna be pretty light, and then season 2 is where my arc would happen. So I definitely went into it knowing that, and yeah, season 1 I didn't have as much to do, but I knew that I was waiting for my moment. It was coming later.

Talking to some of the actors you've worked with, it sounds like Sam factors people's personal experience into their roles. Was there ever a moment where things clicked and Sam maybe tapped into your shared experience being the children of directors? Because that certainly feels like it at least colors Lexi's arc as a playwright.

Sam and I have talked a lot about how we both are anxious in life, and being able to channel all of that anxiety and those feelings into making something and using it. I feel like my writing and my acting, that's what I do, and I think Sam also does that, and that's what Lexi does. Everything in her life is sort of chaotic, her sister and Rue, and she just channels all of that into making this perfect play and putting everything she has into it. And I think that that's what Sam does with the show. He's so invested in making it amazing, and he cares so much. That's another reason working with him is so great because he really does care, you can feel it. You wanna do a good job for him, but you also know he's got your back.

Maude Apatow and Angus Cloud as Lexi and Fez on HBO's 'Euphoria.'
| Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

Are you responsible for Fexi? I read that you'd suggested Lexi and Fezco (Angus Cloud) link up in season 2.

I don't fully remember how that happened. When Sam and I were talking about all this stuff, just on the phone kicking around for hours, that came to be. I can't remember specifically how that went down. Once we started talking about it, it totally made sense. And Angus and I, in real life, have a funny friendship. It all just happened. It all felt right as soon as we started talking about it.

What has been your favorite part of being in maybe the only healthy relationship on Euphoria, and seeing people love it for the most part?

It's so nice to see people like it that much. I can't even describe how crazy it is to go on Instagram and people have made the most like incredible drawings of us, and these dramatic edits of our love. It's so funny. But yeah, it's a crazy positive reaction. I knew people were gonna like it, because it's pretty sweet, but I wasn't expecting this many people to like it. It's crazy.

You weren't expecting people to fully make "Stand By Me" music videos with clips of you and Angus?

[Laughs] No, I did not see that coming.

You can't really tease much about the finale, but just as a matter of opinion, do you hope season 3 explores their relationship more?

Oh, totally. Yeah, I mean, I don't wanna spoil anything, but I think it is just very refreshing when the relationship feels so like innocent and sweet, like in the last episode they don't even kiss. They just hold hands, and it's building really slowly. And I think in contrast to a lot of the things that happen on the show that are so extreme, it definitely stands out. But I love working with Angus. I think Angus is such a great actor, and we just have so much fun working together. So for selfish reasons, I hope we get to do more scenes together because it's fun. He's just a great partner. He's so present and talented, and yeah, I just love working with him, so I totally would love to keep working with him.

In terms of other scene partners, how'd you develop your dynamic with Sydney? It seems like you two have amplified each other this season.

Sydney and I are very close. It's the same thing, but acting with Sydney is so easy because she's so good. So it's always a privilege to get to act alongside actors who are that good because it just makes your life so much easier. It's amazing getting to watch her work because her work ethic is so strong, and she's always so prepared, and she's just — I don't wanna say she's like a beast, but I don't know how else to describe it. She's just amazing at what she does. 

There are moments in the show that are intense between us, but I feel like because we're such close friends in real life, we just have that trust and know that we have each other's backs, and if things ever got too intense or weird, we can talk it out. We have such a great relationship. So that never was really an issue, and we were so happy that we had more scenes together this season because I think they sort of implied all the things about their relationship in season 1, or just little details of it, and then we got to really go deeper this season.

Maude Apatow Euphoria
Maude Apatow in 'Euphoria' season 2 on HBO.
| Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

What has it been like to see so much attention on Lexi as the audience surrogate? And do you even remember some of the lines people zero in on like —

Are you gonna say the sidekick line?

No, I was gonna say the line: "Cassie, do you wanna go for a walk?"

Oh! [Laughs] There's this line in that sort of dream sequence, where Lexi's being interviewed about the show, of the sidekick being the main role. And that whole day was all improv, and Sam was shouting out lines, and I remember that was a line that he shouted out, but people really seemed to latch onto that one line, where I was like, "Wow." And they ask me about it, and I'm not, not surprised, but it's interesting. 

But yeah, the line during the intervention. I thought it's so funny because we shot that scene and we were all dying. We thought it was the funniest thing, and then you watch that episode, and it isn't as funny as we thought it was. But that was a really fun scene to shoot.

Do you see Lexi as an important figure in Rue's storyline? I feel like she is a good model for showing what empathy can be in that situation, dealing with an addict?

This season you definitely see more about how Cassie and Lexi's dad was an addict too. And I think she's able to put up with [Rue] because she's had experiences dealing with addicts in the past. Rue is obviously her best friend. When her dad left, she couldn't make sense of that abandonment, and at first, when Rue started doing drugs, I think she thought about it in the same way. 

She made it her responsibility to save Rue because she didn't want Rue to leave her, and then through the seasons, and through working on the show, she realized how to have boundaries with her, and know what's her responsibility and what isn't. Because I think her whole life, with her family and Cassie, she's always given so much of herself to helping them that she's just completely forgotten to take care of her own feelings and issues. But [in] the finale, there's a really good scene with Lexi and Rue that I think is really important, and ties everything up in a really nice way. It's all leading to this, and the play helps open that conversation that Lexi has always wanted to have, but hasn't been able to.

Maude Apatow Euphoria
Maude Apatow as Lexi on HBO's 'Euphoria.'
| Credit: Eddy Chen/HBO

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