The new HBO show, The Idol, starring The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp, has become subject to much controversy after it was revealed that Sam Levinson (creator of Euphoria) stepped in and derailed the show’s direction.
According to a report from Rolling Stone, the show “has gone wildly, disgustingly off the rails” since Levinson replaced the original director, Amy Seimetz, who suddenly left the project last year. The Idol was billed as a satire on a chaotic industry rife with abuse. Depp plays a rising pop star who finds herself in a complex relationship with The Weeknd’s (real name Abel Tesfaye) cult leader/nightclub owner. With Seimetz directing, the show was set to chart Depp’s character’s journey towards independence, yet she unexpectedly departed from the project when 80% of it had been filmed.
When Levinson took over, he moved further away from the female empowerment storyline, instead incorporating multiple unnecessary sex scenes between the two characters. Tesfaye, the show’s co-creator, claimed that the show focused too heavily on a “female perspective” under Seimetz’s direction.
According to an anonymous 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 satirising.”
Another crew member added, “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.” Someone else called The Idol a “shitshow.”
Rolling Stone‘s report was not received too kindly by Tesfaye, who took to Twitter to criticize the exposé. He posted a video on Twitter of himself and Depp in character, hearing that Rolling Stone wrote a story about them, captioning it, “Did we upset you?” Tesfaye’s character refers to the publication as “irrelevant” before Depp chimes in, “I feel like it might be a little past its prime.” Tesfaye agrees, saying, “Yeah, no one cares about Rolling Stone.” The pair compare follower counts before the clip fades away, asserting that Depp’s character Jocelyn is far more successful than the publication.
Watch the clip below.
.@RollingStone did we upset you? pic.twitter.com/Uyx06lyRgx— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) March 1, 2023