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There’s A Wild Parallel Between Robert Downey Jr.’s Performance In Oppenheimer And A Big Sydney Sweeney Moment In Euphoria, And I Can’t Get Over It

Leave it to the Internet to make meme connections between two very unlikely and seemingly unrelated subjects: the scandalous HBO teen drama Euphoria and the tense “father of the atomic bomb” biopic Oppenheimer. And yet fans of both the Zendaya-led HBO hit and the critically acclaimed Christopher Nolan epic have discovered parallels between two characters, Euphoria‘s Cassie Howard (played by Sydney Sweeney) and Oppenheimer’s Lewis Strauss (2024 Golden Globe nominee Robert Downey Jr.). 

One Twitter user, @stargayzes, took to social media to post contrasting clips from both the teen series and the historical drama that show the emotional Cali-girl cheerleader and the antagonistic U.S. Atomic Energy Commission official have more in common than meets the eye:

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The Euphoria clip shows Sweeney’s Cassie Howard walking down the hall, excited and expectant as she sees her love interest Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi). However, Nate pointedly brushes off the blonde, leaving her confused and distraught. 

Similarly, the Oppenheimer video shows RDJ’s Lewis Strauss walking up to the object of, if not of his affection, then at the very least his admiration: Albert Einstein. However, as the German-born theoretical physicist (played by Tom Conti) leaves a harrowing conversation with Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), he ignores Strauss’ greeting, leaving the government official stunned and slighted.

And it’s not the only similarity that pop-culture fans have spotted between the Euphoria cast member’s character and Oppenheimer’s antagonist. That very same Twitter user followed up her initial post with even “more cinematic parallels” between Sweeney and Downey’s characters. 

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The fresh clips see both Cassie Howard and Lewis Strauss emotionally unraveling as they fail to get exactly what they want. In Cassie’s case, it was the love and devotion of Nate Jacobs. In Lewis’s, it was a cabinet seat and the public takedown of J. Robert Oppenheimer. 

A wide-eyed Cassie warns Elordi’s Jacob that her threats are “something [he] should be scared of,” to which the latter responds with an exasperated “what the fuck?” And Strauss similarly is emotional and emphatic, declaring that Oppenheimer “should be thanking” him for making him world-famous for the Trinity Test, not for the Hiroshima or Nagasaki bombings. “Well, he’s not,” Alden Ehrenreich’s senate aide quips back to him. 

Completing the clip trifecta, @stargayzes continued with a mash-up featuring clips of both characters, set to Olivia Rodrigo’s pop hit “Déjà vu.”

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Given thatEuphoria Season 3 is much-delayed due to the WGA writer’s strike and SAG-AFTRA strike (which ended in November), we won’t be getting new clips of Cassie Howard anytime soon to mash up with even more movie moments from the biopic. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t see more Sweeney and RDJ onscreen. Sydney, who is used to going viral on social media, is currently starring in the not-raunchy-yet-not-romantic Anyone But Youopposite Glen Powell, and Robert will make his way onto the 2024 TV schedule with the black comedy miniseries The Sympathizer, also starring Hoa Xuande, Fred Nguyen Khan and Sandra Oh. And if you are looking to catch either of their projects referenced here. You can stream Euphoria with a Max subscription and rent or buy Oppenheimer. 

In the meantime, we’ll be busy rewatching those ridiculous Cassie-and-Lewis clips!

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