Petra Collins, known for her coming-of-age storytelling and retro color soaked dream-like visual style, is finally speaking out on why the “Euphoria” aesthetic looks so familiar. Collins alleged in a recent interview with Punkt that director Sam Levinson hired her and told her that he was planning to shoot and direct the hit HBO show in her style, only to fire her from the project, then continue to use her vision without giving her credit.
Collins went into further detail, explaining her evolving artistic style: “I had to change my style because of Euphoria. Lots of people started to take photos in that style and I haven’t felt any more as mine and I felt disconnected from that. I need to find myself again, cause I didn’t resonate with this anymore. That was a big turning point in my life.”
The director and photographer claimed that after relocating to Los Angeles to work on the show, HBO and Levinson fired her after the casting and creative work was done, claiming that she was “too young.” Collins claimed that seeing her deeply personal style reflected in a “Euphoria” billboard was shocking.
oh so amy seimetz isn’t the first woman sam levinson and HBO did this to. they did it to petra collins first. what a vile human being pic.twitter.com/0AXdACnuv0
— bethany (@fiImgal) September 12, 2023
Collins went on to carve a new niche for herself as a visual artist, now directing music videos for a number of acclaimed musicians. Notably, Collins has directed the majority of Grammy winning singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo‘s music videos, receiving praise for the gritty vintage style and the 90s and y2k nostalgia.
I wrote about Petra Collins's journey from local wunderkind to VMAs major player and — somewhere on the horizon — body-horror filmmaker https://t.co/X8LwCYiq9u
— Sydney Urbanek (@sydurbanek) September 12, 2023
Naturally, Collins’ revelation alleging that Levinson stole her creative ideas is drawing connections to a more recent Levinsonian drama–the production of HBO’s “The Idol.” The project, which starred The Weeknd and Lily Rose Depp, centered on the changing identity of a young pop star in wake of her mother’s death and a public scandal.
The series was shrouded with controversy since its inception, after the Weeknd initially allegedly played a role in the firing of screenwriter Amy Seimetz. The show intended to highlight the female perspective of pop stardom, and the Weeknd allegedly intended for the show to follow a different pursuit.
Levinson was brought onto the project in a later stage, and allegedly scrapped almost the entire script and began anew. 13 crew members alleged this writing room kerfuffle and more on-set mistreatment to Rolling Stone in the months leading up to the show’s release.
The crew members told the magazine that the script now reflected “torture porn” and did not center a female narrative that it once promised. Upon the show’s release, it was racked with low Rotten Tomatoes scores and largely negative responses from viewers on X and TikTok. The cancellation comes after months of widespread criticism.
Elsewhere, some lament that the show had plenty of positive potential prior to Levinson’s rewrite. Set photos from the first round of shooting with Seimetz’ script revealed the original plot would examine Jocelyn’s past as a child star.
The Levinson Effect
Levinson previously faced allegations from “Euphoria” star Sydney Sweeney of incorporating a slew of gratuitous nude scenes in the show involving her character. Combined with the violent intimate scenes in “The Idol”, the director’s critically acclaimed work continues to spark controversy among viewers. The content of the work has many disappointed but not surprised at the revelations that the director has allegedly stolen ideas from Seimetz and Collins.
Just further proof that Sam Levinson is a weirdo and a creep!
— steven ❀ (@arianaunext) September 13, 2023
Many applauded Collins for speaking out on the matter, hoping that it will mark a new era of representation for women in film.
It's unfortunate that this happened to Petra, but I'm glad she's speaking out about it. I hope that this will bring more attention to the issue of women being underrepresented in the film industry.
— MoonBao (@MoonBaoNFT) September 13, 2023
Collins is yet to speak further on “Euphoria” at this time.