From his breakout role in HBO’s teen drama Euphoria to upcoming Netflix series Dash & Lily, Austin Abrams has quickly made his name as a specialist in young love.
His latest project, Amazon Prime romcom Chemical Hearts, follows two high school students who meet while working on the school newspaper. Packed with teenage angst, the film tracks its young stars (Abrams, alongside Riverdale stalwart Lili Reinhart) as they fall for each other and deal with the inevitable consequences.
We caught up with Abrams to find out the secret behind his on-screen chemistry with Reinhart and, naturally, to get the goss on Euphoria season two.
Your chemistry with Lili Reinhart is so crucial to Chemical Hearts. How did you get it right?
“Well, we’ve actually known each other since we were kids. We worked together on this movie called The Kings of Summer, quite a while ago, when we were about 15. That movie was actually pretty good! So, thankfully, there was a kind of chemistry that we [already had] – there weren’t necessarily a lot of extra steps that needed to be taken to build it up.”
Did you audition together?
“Oh man, I think it was the scene where we’re in her bedroom – Dom’s bedroom. It was so long ago now.”
Did you watch any classic romances as inspiration?
“Our director, Richard Tanne, sent over a list to watch. Blue Is The Warmest Colour was on it. The biggest thing I took from that film is that everyone is just so damn good in it, and everyone’s really honest.”
What’s your funniest memory from shooting?
“This shoot schedule was pretty tight. We were filming like boom, boom, boom! But there was one moment where, for some reason – I don’t know why – I did a country accent. Later, Rich saw it in editing, and was like: ‘What the fuck is this?’ I had to dub over it, which made me laugh. I couldn’t tell you why I did that, I don’t even remember doing it. When he pointed it out, I was like, ‘Man I don’t know what that is!’”
You’re in Netflix’s Dash & Lily later this year – another romcom. What draws you to these roles?
“What is interesting to me is to play characters that are having these experiences for the first time. It’s a challenge. And then relationships are also very interesting. At the same time, I’m a young guy playing teenagers and that’s [naturally] going to be part of it.”
Chemical Hearts deals with themes of grief. Does that give it extra relevance during a pandemic when lots of people are coping with loss?
“That’s not something I’ve thought about, but I’m very happy if it does help people work through pain. I feel like, as an actor, you always want to try and connect with people in some way, through whatever movie or TV show it is you’re acting in.”
Has COVID-19 affected any projects you’re working on?
“We were supposed to go back to film season two of Euphoria, and sadly that got halted. So I’m not really sure when that’s going to happen. I have no idea, sadly when that will happen, but I would love it to be somewhat soon.”
What are you most excited about for season two of Euphoria?
“Honestly, I’m excited to just see what happens, because at this point, I know the scripts have been totally rewritten. So, I’ll just be excited to see what happens, because I’m in the dark as much as literally anyone else.”
It’s been rewritten since you last saw it?
“Yeah, we were having table reads, and we were supposed to start pretty soon, but, then the pandemic happened. Now, I’ve heard that everything has been completely changed. So, now I don’t know what will happen.”
‘Chemical Hearts’ is streaming now of Amazon Prime Video