HBO's Euphoria started generating buzz before it even premiered due to its graphic — and, creators say, honest — depictions of Gen Z teen sex and drug use. But the bold series has been well-received by critics and audiences, despite various conservative and parental groups freaking out about it. The cast, led by Zendaya, also features a super recognizable ensemble — despite all of them being relatively young — so viewers may be wondering where they've seen the actor who plays Ethan on Euphoria before. Austin Abrams has been on a bunch of your favorite TV shows, and he has some major projects coming down the pipeline, too.
Prior to Euphoria, Abrams played Ron Anderson, a secondary antagonist on Seasons 5 and 6 of The Walking Dead. He's also had guest spots on Silicon Valley and Shameless. YA fans, meanwhile, may recognize him as Ben from the film adaptation of John Green's Paper Towns, one of a trio of best friends at the center of the movie who has a very memorable drunk scene. Nat Wolff, the star of Paper Towns who also appeared in the film adaptation of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, even cast Abrams in his directorial debut, a short film called Youngest, which also starred the late James Gandolfini's son Michael.
Last year, after he landed recurring roles on both SMILF and The Americans in which he lowkey seduced older women, Decider dubbed Abrams "Hollywood's go-to cougar-bait." Indeed, on SMILF, he hooked up with Frankie Shaw's character Bridgette, who happened to be his former babysitter. And although he didn't actually fool around with Keri Russell's character on The Americans, there was definitely some ~tension~ there, too. Decider compared Abrams to "the TV guest star version of Timothée Chalamet," which is pretty accurate.
The 22-year-old actor has a breakout year ahead of him, too, after a bit of a stumble earlier this year. (He landed the leading role in Hulu's reboot of the Bret Easton Ellis novel-turned-1987 film Less Than Zero, but the streaming platform decided not to move forward with the pilot in February.) However, he will appear in this summer's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, a movie adaptation of Alvin Schwartz’s 1990s children's books, directed by the master of horror Guillermo del Toro.
Next year, Abrams will revisit the YA genre — this time as the romantic lead. He's slated to play Henry Page in Amazon's adaptation of Krystal Sutherland's Our Chemical Hearts, executive produced by Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart, who takes on the role of his romantic interest Grace Town.
In Euphoria, though, Abrams plays 17-year-old Ethan, a new kid in town who quickly befriends his lab partner at school, Kat, with a healthy dose of will-they-or-won't-they romantic tension. He's poised to kill it in the role, with not only a ton of darker material under his belt, but also a long history of playing sexually pent-up, angsty teens. Abrams seems like a perfect fit for the Euphoria crew, and it looks like his career is about to skyrocket.