The long-in-the-works HBO six-episode miniseries The Idol has finally set for a release date on HBO this June, following its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May. The Idol hails from Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, who took over the reins last year after the director and one of the actresses exited amid a creative overhaul four or five episodes into filming.
Abel Tesfaye, also known as “The Weeknd”, co-stars with Lily-Rose Depp in the series that is internally billed as the next Euphoria, an edgy take on the music industry that will leave no stone unturned and might include a few uncomfortable moments along the way. Here is the official logline for the show:
After a nervous breakdown derailed Jocelyn’s (Lily-Rose Depp) last tour, she’s determined to claim her rightful status as the greatest and sexiest pop star in America. Her passions are reignited by Tedros (Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye), a nightclub impresario with a sordid past. Will her romantic awakening take her to glorious new heights or the deepest and darkest depths of her soul?
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You can check out the latest teaser here, which HBO used to announce their June 4 release date:
A QUICK LOOK AT THE MAKING OF THE IDOL
The new series has been under the microscope for a long time. Sam Levinson co-created the series with the artist known as The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye), with the director of the entire series, Amy Seimetz, departing the project with 80% of the project having been filmed. Star Suzanna Son followed suit right after, and the network announced they were heading into a new creative direction.
This would involve Levinson, HBO’s go-to guy for edgy teen dramas after creating Euphoria, taking over as the main director of the series. In fact, the network has now confirmed that he is the sole credited director of the series, hinting that hardly anything shot by Amy Seimetz will be in the final cut of the episodes. Things only heated up for the series when Rolling Stone published a blockbuster piece in which thirteen sources from the production cast and crew described the series as “torture porn” and going “off the rails.”
The original Deadline story about Son’s exit mentioned that production troubles originated once Tesfaye came to the conclusion that the story was “leaning too much into a ‘female perspective,’ according to sources, with co-star Lily-Rose Depp’s character rather than his own.” It didn’t help Tesfaye’s case that the female director of the series, Amy Smeitz, and one of its main actresses, Suzanna Son, departed the project, though Depp remained on board.
According to Rolling Stone, the series’ story was weakened once Levinson was brought on board in favor of more sexual content and nudity. Said one production member:
“What I signed up for was a dark satire of fame and the fame model in the 21st century. The things that we subject our talent and stars to, the forces that put people in the spotlight and how that can be manipulated in the post-Trump world. It went from satire to the thing it was satirizing.”
Another member of the crew added the following to Rolling Stone:
“It was like any rape fantasy that any toxic man would have in the show — and then the woman comes back for more because it makes her music better.”
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Depp and her character’s depiction in the series seem to be at the center of the entire story, but when asked by the magazine, she called Levinson “the best director” she’s ever worked with, adding that she’s never “felt more supported or respected in a creative space, my input, and opinions more valued.” Another source close to the production commented on the following:
“It couldn’t have been a better crew from my standpoint, from both Amy and in Sam’s case across the board. [They are] completely professional people, thinking ahead, people problem solving on a dime, being collaborators and caring. There just was an overall caring from both the cast and the crew deeply on both sets.”
HBO, Levinson, and Tesfaye provided no comment on the story, but the singer-turned-actor couldn’t resist posting the following response on Twitter, which garnered a lot of criticism:
THE IDOL RELEASE DATE, CAST, AND CREW
Whatever you make of these production problems, HBO has been hyping up the series internally for a long time. It was initially going to air last fall after The White Lotus wrapped and before The Last of Us started, but they decided it wasn’t ready yet. Instead, they pushed the release date and ultimately decided to submit it to the Cannes Film Festival, where it was accepted. (A Cannes release is nothing to sneeze at, and will definitely help contribute to its status as the successor to Euphoria in the twisted-mind young adult drama section of Max.) It will then start airing on HBO on June 4.
The Idol stars Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, Lily-Rose Depp, Troye Sivan, Dan Levy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Eli Roth, Hari Nef, Jane Adams, Jennie Ruby Jane, Mike Dean, Moses Sumney, Rachel Sennott, Ramsey, Suzanna Son, and Hank Azaria. It was created, executive produced, and written by Sam Levinson, Tesfaye, and Reza Fahim; Kevin Turen, Ashley Levinson, Joseph Epstein, Aaron L. Gilbert for BRON, and Sara E. White are also executive producers. Levinson directed all six episodes.
You can check out two of the first three teasers for the series here:
What did you think of the new teaser and the release date? Are you excited for The Idol or are you concerned by all of the noise surrounding it? Let us know on our social media, and stay tuned for more on the series as it develops!
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SOURCE: HBO, YouTube