news ‘The Idol’ Trailer: The Weeknd Drops First Footage from HBO Drama Starring Lily-Rose Depp

“From the sick and twisted minds of Abel and Sam Levinson,” as the first footage begins, comes HBO’s “The Idol.” Abel, of course, being Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd.

During the New Jersey stop on his “After Hours Til Dawn” tour on Saturday night, The Weeknd debuted an exclusive first look at the upcoming limited series created by Tesfaye, Sam Levinson, and Reza Fahim. The teaser promises another visceral, debauchery-filled offering from, among the others, “Euphoria” creator Levinson. Check it out below.

Based on the trailer, Lily-Rose Depp is indeed the star of this show about an LA self-help guru (Tesfaye) who lures a rising pop star (Depp) into his sway. Dangerous and alluring cult happenings abound.

“The Idol” has gone through, to put it gently, some changes this year. While the show was first announced in June 2021, with production kicking off in November last year, reshoots and creative tussles have plagued the filming dating back to April.

Among the stops and starts: Multiple collaborators parted ways with the series under ambiguous circumstances, including “Red Rocket” breakout Suzanna Son. (She was replaced by Disney Channel breakout Debby Ryan.) Sources said that The Weeknd felt the show was leaning too heavily into a female point of view — though the trailer certainly toplines that angle, with Depp awash in a glittering Hollywood. Series director Amy Seimetz (“She Dies Tomorrow”) also quit the show in late April, with Levinson allegedly taking a more assertive role as helmer across the episodes. (Seimetz was supposed to direct all six.) Just prior to, HBO also put a pin in production so that The Weeknd could fulfill headlining duties at Coachella.

The curious cast of “The Idol” includes gay pop idol Troye Sivan, Steve Zissis, Melanie Liburd, TV on the Radio singer Tunde Adebimpe, Elizabeth Berkley Lauren, Nico Hiraga, and Anne Heche. At least it did as far as we knew back in April. Rachel Sennott and Hari Nef count among the cast, as well as Korean rapper and singer Jennie, founding member of the girl group Blackpink, as revealed in the trailer.

Earlier this year when reshoots were announced, HBO said of the limited series, “‘The Idol’s’ creative team continues to build, refine, and evolve their vision for the show, and they have aligned on a new creative direction. The production will be adjusting its cast and crew accordingly to best serve this new approach to the series. We look forward to sharing more information soon.”

“The Idol” is hardly The Weeknd’s first foray into film or TV: The Grammy winner previously wrote and starred in a 2020 episode of TBS’ animated series “American Dad.” He also notably appeared in Josh and Benny Safdie’s “Uncut Gems” as a fictionalized version of himself.

Levinson can count himself among this year’s Emmy nominees, as “Euphoria” broke big into the race with a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series, among a total of eight nods including for actors Zendaya and Sydney Sweeney.
 
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