Austin Abrams Dishes About Netflix's Do Revenge - Exclusive Interview

What's better than two teenage girls looking for payback? When those two teenage girls are played by dynamite Hollywood stars Maya Hawke — Robin in "Stranger Things" — and Camila Mendes — Veronica in "Riverdale." These two leading ladies joining the screen together is movie magic, and their new Netflix flick, "Do Revenge," is bolstered by an amazing cast. One such actor, who brings perceived antagonist Max to life, is Austin Abrams, a 26-year-old Florida native known for his work as Ethan Lewis in HBO's hit show "Euphoria." After Mendes' Drea suffers from the public humiliation surrounding her sex tape — presumably released by Max — she and Hawke's Eleanor concoct a revenge scheme. Infused with Hitchcock-esque style, amazing wardrobes, and thrilling twists and turns, "Do Revenge" is a film that should go on your Netflix list ASAP.

Ahead of the film's release on September 16, we sat down with Abrams to get into the nitty-gritty of the movie — also starring Alisha Boe and Sophie Turner — and the 4-1-1 on his character, Max. What inspired the frat-boy, image-obsessed king of high school? And what was it like for Abrams to switch back and forth between Max and his "Euphoria" character, Ethan, who couldn't be more different? These were all questions we were dying to get the answers to, and Abrams did not hold back.

What drew Abrams to Max and how the character pushed him

I'm excited to get into the film. It was thrilling. It was very Hitchcock in tone. I'd love to know what it was about the project and your character, Max, that initially attracted you to the film.

First, I was reading the script, and there's certain twists that I wasn't expecting at all. I was reading it and thought it would be more of a straightforward script. Then I got to those parts, and I was really thrown and didn't expect them at all. That's what initially got me attracted to it, [thinking], "This isn't really what it seems to be," and [thinking about] the possibilities of what it could be. This character is [also] really fun. I'd never really played a character like that before, who was such a peacock peacocking all the time — and so incredibly ego driven and the popular person wanting everything to be about them all the time.

I want to get into your character specifically as well. As you said, he's peacocking; he's got this sordid, frat-boy, revenge-type energy. How did you get into character? Where did you source inspiration from?

I feel like we've seen the popular guy in the past, and [because] you know that archetype, there was definitely an idea of, how can this be more up updated? There was a lot of being inspired by an amalgamation of the popular guys right now and pop culture and the way they dress and the way they talk and things like that. That was definitely inspiring to ... So it was, how do you have that person and then make it updated and use the people around that we all watch now as inspiration?

I'd love to know in what ways that challenged you or challenged your preconception of the popular archetype.

It was definitely challenging because Max is really, super outgoing and really wanting to draw people in all the time to them and wearing more outlandish clothing. It was freeing in that way. It got me more interested in [how] I can wear this or wear the buttons all the way down, and it's fun. It taught me something about attraction or what attraction could be. It challenged me in that way of feeling uncomfortable wearing this or looking like this, but then getting past that and finding something else.

I've got to ask about the cast because you join some amazing cast members. Camila Mendes — we all know her from "Riverdale" — and Maya Hawke is on this "Stranger Things" tide. Sophie Turner, of course. What did a day on set look like? Take me back to those production days.

It's fun. You are working with a lot of great people, people that have a lot of inspiration. Maya's very smart. She has a lot of great ideas. The days on set were fun and creative.

Abrams compares his Do Revenge and Euphoria characters

I want to talk about your work in "Euphoria" because that's what a lot of fans know you from. Playing a teen, as you do in this film, is not new for you, but in what ways would you cast Max and Ethan apart? They're so different.

Yeah, super different. I feel like Ethan is a lot more grounded. Ethan is a quiet guy, reserved guy. That was what was so beautiful about the play too — all of that could be let go. I feel like there is quietness and a soulfulness, but I think there is a bit of reservedness. He's a little bit reserved, so to let the character and myself go and do the play was really cool. 

And then Max — they're different. Max has a lot more ego. Max wants people to like him a lot more. They also probably have really different families. I think Max doesn't have parents that are around very much. I think they're off working or vacationing — don't really give him a lot of love. Whereas it seemed like Ethan was a little bit more stable and had more of a stable home and felt more secure.

How do you navigate such different projects? That's such a different mindset going into these characters.

Sometimes it's funky. Sometimes it can be a little funky, because I was doing it a little bit at the same time, and to go back and do a little bit on "Euphoria" and play Ethan, there was a second where I was trying to remember [the characters] because Max is so not super genuine. It can be funky sometimes.

I would imagine that you almost feel [like] a person caught in the middle between these two very different characters.

Yeah. You're like, "Oh, how was that?" Because especially if it's so quick, you don't get so much time to [adjust].

The Euphoria star reflects on the craft of acting

I want to circle back to "Do Revenge." I don't want to give too much away, but at the center of the film are two young women who have been wronged. With that in mind, what are you hoping viewers are going to take away from the film?

Whatever they feel — each person is their own. Maybe you won't take away anything. Maybe you'll take away a bunch, or maybe you'll have a good time for two hours.

In the world we're currently living in, it seems like tuning in to a fun film with this very cool Hitchcock vibe and great performers might be the escape that a lot of people are looking for.

Yeah. Why not?

What would you say was the biggest lesson that you took from this film? How will it impact projects coming up for you on the horizon?

Like I said, style-wise, it really opened me up because [Max] can be so big compared to what I used to be like or feel comfortable wearing.

Would you say that you are more of a reserved person when it comes to not being in front of the camera?

It's such a mixture — but also not really, because I'm doing this. But there's another side where it feels like I am [reserved] and I can feel very uncomfortable or not like it, but then there's other times where I feel completely comfortable. It's a little bit of a battle that goes on where it goes back and forth.

I've spoken to a number of actors throughout my career, and I'm always so interested in the craft because you are juggling so many different inspirations and motivations in these characters, and Max is so at the heart of this film's conflict.

It's strange. It's definitely an interesting, strange thing, acting, because you can't really grab it. It's a moment and it's living. You can do all of this prep, but if on the day it doesn't work, it doesn't work. There's no right or wrong way to do anything. You can approach every project completely differently.

Abrams dishes about sharing the screen with Camila Mendes

Was there a screen partner that you really enjoyed working with or that you enjoyed playing off of?

I remember Camila and I had very few actual scenes together, but the scenes we had together, I remember having a lot of fun. The scene in the beginning where we're in the car together before anything happens — I remember having so much fun because that was really fun to play off of her. I love doing that. We have a good chemistry and a really good time.

Of all the actors I've spoken to, one of the overarching sentiments is what you can give to your screen partner and not the other way around, [and] it sounds like you had a really good banter.

Yeah, for sure. It's very much giving, and you're playing back and forth and hopefully being vulnerable with each other. Especially [in] that scene, I feel like both our characters are really vulnerable, and maybe that's [partly] why it was really nice. It's one of the only scenes where you see Max being, in my opinion, vulnerable and really feeling something or working through something.

From that moment on, we see this descent into chaos that he's really at the center of.

Yeah. There's a lot of things with the character that you don't see because he can't even show it to himself. He's hiding it so much from himself, his own vulnerability.

"Do Revenge" drops on Netflix on September 16 at 12:00 a.m. PDT. 

This interview has been edited for clarity.