For the better part of the past three decades, HBO has been home to shows that pushed the envelope in terms of content while also being considered artful in their approach to topics that may not be deemed as savory or decent. In the past it was with staples like Oz, we see it now with Euphoria, and in the future we’ll see it with the sensationalized drama series, The Idol, starring Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye and Lily-Rose Depp.
Is this the first you’re hearing of the upcoming series co-created by the Grammy Award-winning musical artist and the mastermind behind Euphoria’s craziest moments? If so, don’t worry, because we’re about to break down the promising and extremely twisted series and share everything we know about it so far!
The Series Centers On A Pop Star Who Gets Wrapped Up In A Cult Led By A Self-Help Guru
When The Idol makes its debut on HBO at some point in the near future (a release date has yet to be announced), the drama series will center on an up-and-coming pop star (Lily-Rose Depp) who finds herself getting wrapped up in a modern-day, Los Angeles-based cult and its charismatic and enigmatic leader, a self-help guru (The Weeknd).
Though not a lot about the intricacies of the plot have been revealed at this time, what HBO has announced about the show at this point makes it sound dark, mysterious, and enchanting from both a story and visual standpoint. Let’s just hope it finds its way to the 2022 TV schedule so we can find out more about this show.
The Idol Cast Is Led By The Weeknd And Lily-Rose Depp
The Idol cast will be led by The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp, who will portray the self-help guru/cult leader and the pop star who is taken under his wing, respectively. Although he has appeared in multiple music videos, documentaries, and specials since breaking out as one of the most successful and unique mainstream musical artists of the past decade, this will be The Weeknd’s first lead role in a scripted series. He previously had a cameo in Uncut Gems, though he played a version of himself.
This will also mark the first main role on a TV series for Lily-Rose Depp, though like her father, Johnny Depp, she has a great deal of experience on the silver screen. Since making her debut in Kevin Smith’s 2014 horror comedy, Tusk, Depp has given performances in The King, Voyagers, and Silent Night, to name a few.
Following the initial announcement by HBO, Deadline revealed in December 2021 that Juliebeth Gonzalez, Maya Eshet, Tyson Ritter, Kate Lynn Shell, Liz Sierra, Finley Rose Slater, and multiple others had been added to The Idol cast.
The Weeknd Co-Created The Idol Alongside Reza Fahim And Euphoria’s Sam Levinson
Not only will The Weeknd be playing one of the show’s main characters when The Idol makes its debut on HBO (and streaming on HBO Max) at some point in the future, the pop star also helped come up with the idea behind the show along with Sam Levinson, best known for creating the smash hit series Euphoria and movies like Malcolm and Marie, Assassination Nation, Another Happy Day, and Operation: Endgame. Joining the pair in this creative venture was Reza Fahim. All three also served as writers and executive producers for the series.
When The Idol was first announced, HBO Executive Vice President, Francesca Orsi, released a statement saying the trio’s “subversive, revelatory take on the cult of the music industry” was something new for the premium cable outlet, which is saying something, considering the channel’s stellar history of trying new things.
The Idol Went Through A Major Overhaul In April 2022
Production on The Idol kicked off in late 2021 and a large portion of the show’s first season was filmed at that time, but the series was given a remix in April 2022 when the show went through a major overhaul. The various changes on The Idol, which were reported by Deadline, included several members of the crew departing the project, with at least one member of the cast stepping away from their duties as well.
According to the report, Amy Seimetz, who is probably best known for writing, directing, and starring in several episodes of The Girlfriend Experience, was slated to direct the series but left the project as part of the major shakeup. Joseph Epstein, who helped write part of the series and was to serve as showrunner, left the show as well. The following day, Deadline reported that actress Suzanna Son would not be returning amid the overhaul of the series.
Following Seimetz’s departure, it was expected that Sam Levinson would be taking over her duties as the show’s director. At the time, The Hollywood Reporter noted that some of the show would have to be reshot, but it wasn’t entirely clear how much of the material would have to be tossed.
The Show Is Expected To Have Six Episodes
When The Idol was first announced in November 2021, HBO revealed that the show would consist of six episodes, though the duration of each chapter was not yet known. Even though there was a major overhaul of the show partway through production of its first season, there have been no announcements concerning the episode count, so we can expect to see six episodes unless otherwise noted before its eventual debut.
The Idol Trailer Gives A Taste Of ‘The Sleaziest Love Story In All Of Hollywood’
In July 2022, HBO dropped a teaser trailer for The Idol that gave prospective viewers their first taste of “the sleaziest love story in all of Hollywood.” Though only clocking in at a little over 90 seconds in length, the trailer had a lot to unpack and showed off The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp’s characters in some fairly chaotic and tense interactions set in and around the Los Angeles area. You can take a look for yourself below:
Just about as soon as the trailer dropped, Twitter was abuzz with comments from people sharing some pretty honest thoughts about the show and its similarities to Euphoria. How much the two shows have in common won’t be known until The Idol makes its debut at a later date.
The Idol is slated to debut on HBO at some point in the near future. You will also be able to watch the show online, but only if you have an HBO Max subscription.
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Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or chatting about professional wrestling to his wife. Writing gigs with school newspapers, multiple daily newspapers, and other varied job experiences led him to this point where he actually gets to write about movies, shows, wrestling, and documentaries (which is a huge win in his eyes). If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.