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The Transformation Of Jacob Elordi From Childhood To Euphoria

As Nate Jacobs in HBO's "Euphoria," Jacob Elordi plays toxic masculinity incarnate for the zoomer set. Starring Zendaya as enigmatic drug addict Rue, "Euphoria" first premiered in June 2019. The series follows a group of high school students as they explore issues related to identity, sexuality, friendship, and trauma. "Euphoria" has received generally positive reviews, with critics praising the show's vivid visual style while also criticizing its "unrelenting explicit[ness]" (via The Guardian).

As an original cast member, Elordi has appeared in 16 episodes of "Euphoria" (via IMDb). But with Nate's penchant for violence – particularly towards his on-again, off-again girlfriend Maddy (Alexa Demie) — he isn't the easiest character to watch or root for. Nate's violent outbursts are in part a trauma response to his own abusive father, Cal (Eric Dane), but he also dabbles in other toxic pastimes, like blackmail and infidelity, all while repressing his own sexual insecurities. 

While scene-stealer Elordi is currently on the rise in the acting world, he's gone through quite a bit to get to where he is now. Here's Elordi's transformation from teen wannabe actor to the master manipulator of "Euphoria."

A rugby injury let Elordi focus on acting

Elordi was born in Brisbane in 1997. A self-described "spoiled" younger sibling to three older sisters (via GQ), Elordi caught the acting bug at 11. "When I was 11 ... I went with my dad to see Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight.' I think that was the first time I remember watching Heath Ledger." It was his countryman's famed "magic trick" scene that pushed the young Elordi over the edge. "I was like, 'That's what I want to do. Whatever that is, that's what I want to do'" (via Vogue). His interest blossomed even more in secondary school. "From when I was 15 years old," the actor told Esquire Middle East, "I just really liked watching movies and doing plays."

At the same time, Elordi's mother pushed him to try modeling. Luckily for Elordi, his 6'5” frame was too tall for the sample sizes. "I'm very grateful," he told Men's Health. "I truly think I would've been miserable if I had to do that." If Elordi has anything in common with his "Euphoria" character, it's his natural athleticism, for which his staggering height proved to be an advantage. The actor played basketball and rugby while growing up in his native Australia — that is, until a back injury sidelined the athlete for good (via Men's Health). The injury gave Elordi, whose sights were set on acting, the opportunity to focus on his preferred hobby. 

Unfortunately, Elordi's early auditions didn't prove successful for the young actor. He repeatedly auditioned for the Australian soaps "Home and Away" and "Neighbors" — shows that helped launch the careers of major names like Heath Ledger, Chris Hemsworth, and Margot Robbie, among others — to no avail. But luckily, Elordi stuck with it, and we all know how well it's worked out for him so far.  

Pirates of the Caribbean marked his first time on a movie set

In 2014, it was announced that the fifth installment of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise would film exclusively in Queensland, making it the biggest production at the time to ever shoot in Australia (via The Sydney Morning Herald). This proved to be a boon for the then-17-year-old Elordi, who worked as an extra in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales." 

This experience marked the actor's first time working on a major film set, even though his appearance is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it role. "People are always trying to find me in the movie," Elordi told GQ. "I was in the background of the movie. I wasn't in the movie. I wasn't credited. I wasn't billed. I didn't audition. I was an extra." He pauses to add, tongue-in-cheek, "And it was one of the best things I've done in my entire life." 

A year after the film's release, Elordi worked again in his native country, this time for the period comedy-drama "Swinging Safari." He plays Rooster, the love interest of a main character's teenage daughter. Per Rotten Tomatoes, critics praised the movie as a "messy yet ultimately endearing comedy rich with period detail," by which they probably meant Elordi's blown out '70s-style locks.   

He rose to fame starring in the Kissing Booth trilogy

Elordi's star began to rise once he scored the role of teen heartthrob Noah Flynn in 2018's "The Kissing Booth," a Netflix Original rom-com. The film follows Joey King's character Elle, a girl who falls for her best friend's dreamy older brother. 

"The Kissing Booth" was hugely popular for Netflix, unleashing hordes of adoring teenage fans upon Elordi. "It was super intense for a little while," the actor told GQ Australia. "Overnight you couldn't really go anywhere." Not helping matters was Elordi's tabloid-friendly relationship with King (via US Magazine). The couple started dating while filming "The Kissing Booth" in 2017. Despite their 2018 breakup, the pair reunited for two more films, the second of which, "The Kissing Booth 2," went on to become one of Netflix's most-watched movies (via Teen Vogue). Regarding the pair's reunion post-breakup, King said on the "Mood With Lauren Elizabeth" podcast that "making those sacrifices was totally worth it."

Following his breakup with King, Elordi has had a number of high-profile dalliances, including relationships with his "Euphoria" costar Zendaya and model Kaia Gerber. In response to the prying gossip mill, Elordi took to Instagram, where he shared a story saying, "This is a reminder that I am a human being" (via J-14). Though Elordi prefers to keep mum on his personal life, his dad John hasn't been afraid to speak up for his son. "I think that's the part Jacob struggles with the most," the elder Elordi told The Daily Mail. "He can't just walk down the street anymore."

Elordia was nearly homeless when he finally got his breakout role in Euphoria

While "The Kissing Booth" certainly helped put Elordi on the map, it's "Euphoria" that truly showcases the young actor's talents — even if his volatile Nate is the subject of ire in many a Twitter meme. The series has put Elordi's acting abilities through the ringer, whether it's in moments of violence, intimacy, or deeply guarded insecurities. Moreover, "Euphoria" arrived at a crucial moment in the actor's life. "I was essentially homeless when I auditioned for it," Elordi shared with Collider in an interview. "I was at the end of my tether. Weirdly, everything came into place." 

More crucially for Elordi, his role in "Euphoria" has begun to spark the attention of other filmmakers and creators. "After 'Euphoria,' the coolest shift happened," Elordi told GQ. "It put me on the radar." Indeed, Elordi will appear next in the highly anticipated "Deep Water" starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas. Set for release on March 18, the psychological thriller marks the second collaboration between Elordi and the film's co-writer Sam Levinson, who created "Euphoria" (via IMDb). With any luck, "Deep Water" marks the beginning of Elordi's transformation into a seasoned actor, and there's probably a lot more he has to show fans.