Recording artist Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye co-created the upcoming television series The Idol. The drama will premiere on HBO and the Max streaming platform on June 4 at 9 pm ET/PT.
The Weeknd, Lily-Rose Depp, and Troye Sivan make up The Idol‘s lead cast. According to Deadline, Tesfaye and co-creator Sam Levinson (Euphoria) spoke about The Idol during a press conference at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival in France.
“We Initially wanted to make a dark, twisted fairy tale with the music industry and everything I know about it and heighten it, and take inspirations from films that both me and Sam love – it was really our love for music,” explained The Weeknd.
The 4-time Grammy winner added, “When I found out how much Sam is involved in the music in Euphoria and getting to work with him on the music on the show, that’s when it unlocked it for us. Can we create our own popstar?”
He continued, “Can we create somebody who is trying to find themselves, using my experiences, using his experiences, using Lily’s experiences on creating something special, daring and exciting, and fun that will make people laugh and p### some people off?”
Levinson Believes Controversy Will Set Up ‘The Idol’ To Be The Biggest Show Of The Summer
Rolling Stone ran an article where a source claimed The Idol was a “shitshow.” Insiders reportedly told the publication that Levinson scrapped the nearly-finished project to reshoot the entire series. Plus, one production member allegedly described Levinson’s version as a “rape fantasy.”
“We know we’re making a show that is provocative. It’s not lost on us,” stated Sam Levinson. “When my wife read me the [Rolling Stone] article, I looked at her and I just said, ‘I think we’re about to have the biggest show of the summer.'”
Levinson also added, “In terms of what was in [the Rolling Stone article], it felt completely foreign to me… They’re free to write whatever they want. My only slight or grievance was that they intentionally omitted anything that didn’t fit their narrative. But I think we’ve seen a lot of that lately.”
This is not the first time Sam Levinson worked with a Canadian musician/actor to produce a show for the HBO network. Levinson also partnered with Hip Hop superstar Drake for the Euphoria teen drama starring Emmy winner Zendaya.