The Weeknd's Controversial HBO Series 'The Idol' To Premiere This June

18 April 2023 | 9:22 am | Mary Varvaris

The series also stars Aussie pop star Troye Sivan, The Simpsons’ Hank Azaria, Dan Levy, and more.

('The Idol' via YouTube)

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The Weeknd is coming to HBO.

He’s coming to the prestige TV channel with a new series, The Idol, which he co-created with Euphoria showrunner Sam Levinson and Reza Fahim, with production by A24. The Weeknd also features as Tedros, who offers an ominous presence with sinister intentions.

The series stars Lily Rose-Depp as a “bad” pop girl, and from the new trailer below, she seems to be channelling Britney Spears, with Gimme More playing in the background to boot. The Idol premieres on Friday, 5 June, on BINGE.

The official synopsis reads: “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?”

As Brooklyn Vegan reports, the series also stars Aussie pop star Troye Sivan, The SimpsonsHank Azaria, Dan Levy, Eli Roth, Hari Nef, Blackpink's Jennie Ruby Jane, Moses Sumney, TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, and more.

The Idol has also been followed by allegations of filming “disturbing” sexual content and "torture porn" that worsened after Levinson came on board. Original showrunner Amy Seimetz (The Girlfriend Experience) departed the project after 80% of the scenes were filmed.

A source told Rolling Stone that Seimetz had been handed a “shit stack” by HBO, with half-finished scripts and a tight schedule putting her in an “impossible situation”.

The Idol went through numerous rewrites and reshoots. One source told Rolling Stone that “It was a show about a woman who was finding herself sexually, turned into a show about a man who gets to abuse this woman, and she loves it."

Another likened The Idol to "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.”

Sam Levinson hasn’t commented on the claims. Lily-Rose Depp said that Levinson was “the best director” she had ever worked with in a statement to Rolling Stone. The Weeknd, meanwhile, took to social media, sharing a clip from the series where he called the publication “irrelevant.” He captioned the video: “Rolling Stone did we upset you?”