The Weeknd gave a first look at the troubled HBO series on Saturday night during the New Jersey stop of its After Hours Til Dawn tour.
“From the Sick and Twisted Minds of Abel and Sam Levinson” as the first footage begins comes HBO’s The Idol. Abel is, of course, Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd.
During the New Jersey stop on Saturday night’s After Hours Til Dawn tour, The Weeknd gave an exclusive first look at the upcoming limited series from Tesfaye, Sam Levinson and Reza Fahim. The teaser promises another visceral, extravagant offering from, among others, Levinson, the creator of “Euphoria.” Check it out below.
Based on the trailer, Lily-Rose Depp actually stars in this show about an LA self-help guru (Tesfaye) who charms an aspiring pop star (Depp). Dangerous and seductive cult events abound.
The Idol has undergone some changes this year, to say the least. While the show was first announced in June 2021 and production began last November, reshoots and creative scramble plagued filming through April.
Among the stops and starts: Several staffers parted ways with the series under unclear circumstances, including “Red Rocket” breakout Suzanna Son. (She was replaced by Disney Channel breakout Debby Ryan.) Sources said The Weeknd felt the had that show leaned too heavily into a female point of view – although the trailer certainly beats that angle, as Depp is awash in a glitzy Hollywood. Series director Amy Seimetz (“She Dies Tomorrow”) also left the show in late April, with Levinson reportedly taking on a more assertive role as host in the episodes. (Seimetz was set to direct all six.) HBO also recently threw a pen into production to allow The Weeknd to headline Coachella.
The quirky 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 in April. Rachel Sennott and Hari Nef are also part of the cast, as is Korean rapper and singer Jennie, founding member of the girl group Blackpink, as revealed in the trailer.
Earlier this year, as new shoots were announced, HBO said of the limited series, “The creative team behind ‘The Idol’ is building, refining and evolving its vision for the show and has aligned itself in a new creative direction. The production will adjust its cast and crew accordingly to best support 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 television: the Grammy-winner wrote and starred in a 2020 episode of the TBS animated series American Dad. He also notably appeared in Josh and Benny Safdie’s “Uncut Gems” as a fictionalized version of himself.
Levinson counts himself among this year’s Emmy nominees, as “Euphoria” started off big with a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series, among eight nominations total, including for actors Zendaya and Sydney Sweeney.