Euphoria Star Eric Dane Talks Cal’s Tragic, Closeted Backstory
Cassie’s instantly iconic “I have never, ever been happier!” line wasn’t the only thing we finally got to see on last night’s episode of HBO’s popular, chaotic teen drama Euphoria! After not knowing much about him (other than that he has a thing for hooking up in seedy motel rooms), we finally got to learn the backstory of one of the series’ most diabolical characters, Cal Jacobs.
Warning! Spoilers for Euphoria Season 2, Episode 3 ahead!
Before becoming a husband in a loveless marriage and the strict, toxic, and demanding father to his equally wicked son Nate (Jacob Elordi), young Cal (Elias Kacavas) was just a regular teenage boy living in the suburbs. His favorite pastimes included partying with his peers, high school wrestling (he was a celebrated state champion), and spending nearly all of his waking time with his best friend Derek (Henry Eikenberry). Though he’s your typical, straight-presenting, All-American ’90s jock who has a thing for hooking up with his classmate Marsha, in the episode we learn that Cal and Derek’s connection is more than just platonic, and that culminates in the two dancing and kissing each other in a dim-lit bar with INXS playing in the background during a night on the town to celebrate their recent high school graduation.
But a combination of the social conventions of the time, his own equally demanding and toxic father, and the fact that he got Marsha pregnant at a young age drove Cal into the closet, forcing him into the miserable life that viewers have come to know from Cal.
During a recent interview with the entire cast of Euphoria, Eric Dane (who plays Cal in the series) opened up to Out about Cal’s tragic and emotional backstory where he had to hide his queerness from the outside world.
“I didn’t really have to do any research,” Dane told Out about preparing for the role of Cal, and diving into his youth as a closeted high schooler. “I know what it’s like to live a double life. The circumstances weren’t precisely the same, but it doesn’t matter. When you put up a facade, you’re putting up a facade, and when you’re being a certain way with certain people and another way with other people that transcends the specifics of the circumstances.”
Dane also opened up about how getting to play Cal again for the show’s second season was like getting to play a whole new character, especially since fans get to know more about him than ever before.
“Bringing [Cal] back for a season two was great,” he said. “I got to create a whole new character. Cal is living his truth and within that, you get a guy who’s completely free and we’ve never seen that from him last year ’cause he was so contained.”
Euphoria airs Sunday nights at 6pm PT/9pm ET on HBO Max.