“Angus was supposed to die at the end of the first season, but I loved him so f—ing much. The first thing I noticed about him was he had those Paul Newman eyes,” Levinson, 38, told People in an interview published on Monday, September 25, while reflecting on working with the late actor. “It killed me. He was perfect. I think part of the problem is I would sometimes put actors ahead of the show at times. So I was like, ‘Okay, I can’t kill him because then what is he to look forward to?’”
News broke in July that Cloud died at age 25. Two months later, the Alameda County Coroner told Us Weekly that Cloud died of acute intoxication following an accidental overdose. According to the authorities, the actor had cocaine, methamphetamine, fentanyl and benzodiazepines in his system at the time of his death.
Before his passing, Cloud had been candid about his struggles with substance abuse. While filming the HBO series, Levinson, who has also been candid about his past addiction issues, picked up that Cloud wasn’t the best version of himself after sustaining an injury during the pandemic. After Levinson offered to help him get clean, Cloud agreed to enter a 30-day in-patient program which HBO reportedly paid for.
“I looked him in the eye and I knew that he wasn’t doing well,” Levinson said to the outlet. “At the same time, I’ve been in these situations before where you’re trying to get someone clean. And I just said to him, ‘I love working with you and we’ve got this amazing season planned and stuff, but I need you to be sober because I got to be able to rely on you.’”
In season 2, Cloud’s character was meant to die despite having a pivotal role in the first half. However, Levinson fought for Cloud once again, calling him “too special.” Ultimately, Levinson told the production team they needed to “keep him around.”
“The one thing that I knew is he loved making this show. He loved the crew. He loved the actors. He loved everything about it,” Levinson reflected. “And I just thought, if this goes away, I don’t know what’s going to happen in his life.”
While the cast and crew rallied around Cloud to help him face his demons, Levinson confessed that the actor needed to be the one to take action.
“I could always feel that he didn’t want [sobriety] as much as we all wanted it for him,” Levinson said to the outlet. “That’s where it gets tricky because the whole world can want it for you. But he didn’t want it. It’s just the self-destructive side of addiction and it outweighs everything. But you can’t give up on people. I wasn’t going to let anyone give up on him.”