Euphoria: Second Season–Finale and Beyond

Walton Shares Last-Minute Changes to Season 2 Finale:

Javon Walton as Ashtray "Euphoria" finale
Courtesy of Eddy Chen / HBO

SPOILER ALERT: This interview contains spoilers for the Season 2 finale of Euphoria

Ashtray, played by Javon Walton, 15, is the cutest and the scariest thing about Sam Levinson’s Euphoria.

The unofficially adopted brother of Fezco (Angus Cloud) is a whiz kid when it comes to selling drugs, converting black market cryptocurrency and predicting the moves of the shady figures that haunt his suburb.

No character in Euphoria goes without incurring new trauma, but Ashtray is more hardened than Fez and Rue (Zendaya), as he was the earliest to be robbed of childhood.

After drugs, abandonment and violence forced an elementary school-aged Fez into raising baby Ash by himself, Ash grew up with a deep anger and a fearlessness of violence.

In the second season, that manifests in his split-second decisions to brutally kill people. When Ash stabs Custer (Tyler Chase) in the neck for working with the police, Fez begs his little brother to let him handle it. But Ash refuses to surrender, and ends up in a shootout with a SWAT team, which he inevitably loses. We hear the thud of his body hitting the floor, though we never see it.

Walton doesn’t define his character by his violent streak alone: “He is a really hard worker, very loyal to the people he loves, and he is smart and very confident.”

Ashtray’s boxing career landed him a role in the hottest teen drama on television.

What grade are you in?

I’m a ninth grader. It’s school at the end of the day. Math is a struggle. I’m not the biggest fan of math. Overall, I’m not a big fan of school. But I do like my sixth period. It’s called Team Sports, and basically you just mess around and play basketball. It’s great way to get your energy out.

Classmates watch the show?

Sometimes it does a little bit, but people are usually super respectful about it. It’s usually not a thing. Some do, no doubt, but they don’t really talk to me about it. Because they know that I’m a really private person.

Some people think Ashtray might still be alive?

There’s definitely hope for Ashtray to still be alive. Because if there’s somebody who could take a bullet, it’s Ashtray. Ashtray is one badass kid. He’s not playing around. I believe he has a shot about being around for Season 3.

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Ashtray’s background is a mystery?

I’ve definitely thought about what his backstory could be, the character and everything that’s behind. His family, his dad, his mom, because we don’t really get to see any of that. But anger comes from him, so he definitely comes from a really angry side. That’s something that is the main thing about him. He’s just an angry kid.

Some of the things I’ve imagined [are] when he was really little, how his parents would treat him. Because he’s even way angrier than Fezco. There’s definitely a story behind all that. I might not be super clear on exactly what that could be, but it’s definitely something super deep.

Preparing for intense scenes, the SWAT team shootout?

Honestly, especially for the finale, you have to really hone in and have your own space for a minute to really go there. Because it’s this deep space that you have to connect to. Ashtray, he doesn’t have a lot of dialogue, right? But you can tell what he’s saying just by looking through his eyes. You can see the story behind them without him having to talk.

It was pretty sad shooting that last scene because I knew that would be my last time on set, which sucks. I knew I was gonna miss everybody there. But during the shootout, when I was in the bathtub, it was pretty crazy because I was getting dust all over me. They had to pour the dust to make it look super realistic from the bullets flying in. It was a sad day, but also a good day. Because I knew I was going to make a strong last impression.

Fez tries so hard to take get Ash to let him take the fall for killing Custer, but Ash still takes on the SWAT team by himself. What do you think about their relationship in that scene?

He really just wanted to protect me, and he wanted to die for me. It’s either you go to jail or you die at that point, when SWAT teams are blazing bullets through the whole place; there’s not much you can do. And he really just wanted to protect me, like how I wanted to protect him.

Ashtray decided to do his own thing, because he wanted what was best for him in that moment. And that was selfish of him. At the end of the day, he’s a kid, you know? A lot of people see him as this adult, but he’s very vulnerable. And we really see that at the end of the last episode. And he does not want to go to a foster home. That’s another thing.

In Ashtray’s big moments, he’s always acting on instinct?

He grew up in a world with just all violence. He wasn’t taught any better but to kill. I can almost see where he’s coming from, even though I know how messed up it is. All he knows is to protect Fez.

You originally did have lines in the script?

That was so long ago now, like six months ago, so I don’t remember the exact dialogue. But there’s been a few times like that, where Ashtray was supposed to have certain dialogue and Sam just decided to cut it because he likes [that with] Ashtray, there’s a lot of mystery behind him.

the silence?

Honestly, I kind of liked it. But at the same time, I do wish I had more dialogue in certain parts. But I really just was following Sam’s vision. I just wanted to follow that because that’s what he thought was best. And I thought it worked as well.

If you could write for Ashtray?

If I could write for Ashtray… it would be some like super gangster shit. Like when he was hitting Cal in the head, it would just be some super G stuff the whole time. [In the finale], I don’t think there’s much he could say. “I’m not gonna leave you like this.” That kind of stuff. Telling [Fezco] he’s sorry for what he’s about to do.

Script rewrites throughout the season?

Just how much more violent he really got. He got a lot more violent this season, because last season, he was younger. But as he’s matured, he’s really changed almost for the worst.

And Ashtray wasn’t supposed to get shot. That was another thing. He wasn’t supposed to get shot! It was Fez that was supposed to get shot at first, which is crazy. And then, like a day before, they changed the storyline to me getting shot.

Ash accidentally shoots Fez? Was that originally in the script?

I don’t think that was always there. It was kind of written — the whole thing — like a day before.

Favorite scene to shoot?

My favorite scene was in Season 1. The very first scene I shot. I was talking to Rue, she was buying drugs, and I was trying to stack my cash, pay off our mortgage.  And the scene was with Zendaya! Just a really cool moment. It was like, “Oh, is this how acting is?” Because I didn’t understand it at the time!

This was your first acting project?

I’m a boxer. That’s what I’ve done pretty much my whole life, and I was on Steve Harvey’s show for boxing. And casting director Jennifer Venditti saw me and she was like, “Hey, do you want to try acting? There’s this role called ‘Euphoria.’” I was like, “Sure.”

I ended up trying out for it, and I got it immediately. Levinson loved my look. He was going for a bigger kid, but he liked that I was smaller. And then I was just so gangster with it. I was one of few kids that was pronouncing the drug names right!

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