Months after Barbie Ferreira announced that she would not return to HBO Max’s “Euphoria,” the actor and model revealed this week the real reason she left the hit series, a move she called a “mutual decision.”
In a Monday episode of podcast “Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard,” Ferreira said that both she and show creator Sam Levinson felt that her popular supporting character, the body-conscious Kat Hernandez, was no longer a fit for where the show was headed.
“I think my character, who I love dearly, I don’t think there was a place for her to go,” she said on the podcast. “I really wanted to be be able to not be the fat best friend.”
Ferreira added that during the filming of Season 2 of “Euphoria,” she and Levinson struggled “to find continuation of her” character. She said it was “actually really hurtful” seeing fans’ negative reaction to her character — who some saw as lacking depth and relegated to a sidekick — overshadowed by larger arcs on the show.
“I just felt like maybe I had overstayed my welcome a little bit,” she said. “I [knew] that what would happen would be something that wouldn’t fit into the show — it wouldn’t do her justice, so might as well leave on a high, do my own thing.”
Ferreira’s Kat quickly became a fan favorite, debuting in Season 1 as an unsure teenager who looked to seedy corners of the internet to take back control of her body and sex life. The first season also followed her romance with her classmate Ethan (Austin Noah Abrams).
The second season seemed to have more of Kat in store, but plot points about her complicated self-acceptance journey and her dwindling relationship with Ethan were cut short and took a back seat to other characters. When Ferreira announced in August that she wouldn’t return for a third season, fans were quick to blame Levinson for her exit.
In February, the Daily Beast reported allegations of a toxic workplace, including long, late-night shoots and disorganized set days under Levinson. The news outlet also reported that there was tension between Ferreira and Levinson, leading the actor allegedly to walk off set. In March, however, Ferreira dismissed the so-called drama as “untrue.”
Although Ferreira called walking away from the show “freeing,” she admitted that “it obviously hurts, ’cause I love Kat and she’s so important to me and I think to a lot of people … and it was a character I had never seen on TV before, and I don’t know if we’ll ever get something like that in that specific way.”
And despite the amicable nature of her exit, she acknowledged that she and Levinson had their differences: “Sam writes for things that he relates to. I don’t think he relates to Kat. I relate to Kat. So I have to go on my own path.”
Ferreira said it was scary, at first, leaving a franchise as large as “Euphoria.”
But she quickly found other roles. Last year, she appeared in Jordan Peele’s critically acclaimed science-fiction horror “Nope.” She is also set to star in a remake of the horror film series “Faces of Death”; an Amazon Prime psychological thriller, “House of Spoils,” alongside Oscar-winning Ariana DeBose; and an upcoming drag comedy-drama, “The Young King.”
Times staff writer Alexandra Del Rosario contributed to this report.