‘The Idol’ Updates: The Weeknd Responds To Behind-The-Scenes Drama & More You Need To Know

HBO's upcoming drama series, 'The Idol', is generating major buzz already. Here's what you need to know about the show starring Lily-Rose Depp and The Weeknd.

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  • The Idol is an upcoming HBO show.
  • It’s expected to premiere in 2023.
  • It stars Lily-Rose Depp and The Weeknd.

HBO has been on a roll creating hit TV shows like The White Lotus, House of the Dragon, and The Last Of Us, and the network hopes to keep that trend going with the upcoming drama series The IdolEuphoria creator Sam Levinson and The Weeknd (yes, the singer! ) are the masterminds behind the Lily-Rose Depp-starring show, which is expected to premiere in 2023. But the show’s release has been delayed due to behind-the-scenes drama that was brought to light in a Rolling Stone story published on March 1.

Lily-Rose Depp & The Weeknd in ‘The Idol’. (HBO)

HBO has released teasers for The Idol that show Lily-Rose’s Jocelyn, an aspiring pop star, falling in love with The Weeknd’s Tedros, a self-help guru/modern-day cult leader. Their relationship becomes extremely complicated, which fans will see when the show premieres. Below, HollywoodLife has rounded up everything you need to know about The Idol, including the release date, the cast, and the behind-the-scenes drama.

‘The Idol’ Trailers

The first teaser trailer for The Idol was released by The Weeknd in July 2022, as he kicked off his ‘After Hours Til Dawn’ tour in New Jersey. The footage shows Jocelyn striking up a romance with Tedros, which quickly turns tense. Jocelyn tells Tedros that she doesn’t trust him.

The second teaser trailer was released by The Weeknd in August 2022. It features other characters saying that they’re using Jocelyn to “sell sex,” after she struts into a record company barely wearing clothes.

The third teaser trailer dropped in October 2022, courtesy of HBO. It shows Tedro warning Jocelyn to “trust no one” but him. Tedro blindfolds Jocelyn in the music studio and seduces her. The full trailer for The Idol has yet to be released.

‘The Idol’ Release Date

HBO has not announced the official release date for The Idol. The show was expected to premiere in 2022, but got delayed to 2023. The teaser trailer from October confirmed that the show will be out in 2023. But Rolling Stone‘s article claims that production “are in the dark on when the show will make it to air, and have little idea about what the final version will look like.”

Allegedly, the show’s been delayed because of rewrites that took place once Sam Levinson replaced Amy Seimetz as director, after she departed the six-episode show before they filmed the final episode. Per Rolling Stone‘s sources, the show was rewritten and reshot under Sam’s leadership, which has affected the show’s delayed release.

‘The Idol’ Cast

Lily-Rose Depp
Lily-Rose Depp (Photo: Shutterstock)

Lily-Rose Depp stars as Jocelyn in The Idol. Lily-Rose, 23, is the daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis. Her past acting jobs include the movies The King, Voyagers, and Silent NightThe Idol is Lily-Rose’s first television show. Back in March 2022, Lily-Rose told Wonderland that “the more I learn about the story and the character, the more I have a special feeling about this. The team around me are so great and I’m in really great hands. I’ve never done a show before and I’ve never held on to a character for this long before so I’m ready for that challenge as well.”

The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, plays Tedros in The Idol. He co-created the show with Sam Levinson and Reza Fahim and he’s also one of the executive producers. This is The Weeknd’s official acting debut. He’s known for his theatrical musical videos and appeared as himself in the 2019 Adam Sandler movie Uncut Gems.

The Weeknd
The Weeknd (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Idol cast also includes Jennie Kim, Suzanna Son, Troye Sivan, Jane Adams, Dan Levy, Eli Roth, Hank Azaria, Rachel Sennott, and Da’Vine Joy Randolph. Plus, the late Anne Heche has her final TV role in the show.

The Behind-The-Scenes Drama on ‘The Idol’

As we mentioned before, Rolling Stone released intel on how production on The Idol changed once Sam Levinson took control. Allegedly, Sam decided to “weaken the show’s overarching message”, by focusing more on the sexual content, rather than the story of an up-and-coming pop star falling in love with a cult leader.

Sam Levinson
Sam Levinson (Photo: Shutterstock)

Sources claimed to Rolling Stone that director Amy Seimetz “seemed set up to fail from the start” by HBO. Amy reportedly “was given half-finished scripts, a tight schedule, and near-impossible expectations from HBO” while she was working on the show, Rolling Stone reported. Also, HBO reportedly only gave the show a $54 million budget, much less than the $97 million it cost to create the second season of Euphoria. The Rolling Stone report also claimed that The Weeknd and Sam had limited availability to work on the show, because they were busy with touring and Euphoria, respectively.

After Sam replaced Amy as director of the rest of the series in April 2022, a report from Deadline came out that claimed The Weeknd was “unhappy” that the show focused more on Lily-Rose with a “female perspective”. Regarding this situation, a source told Rolling Stone, “It was like the Weeknd wanted one show that was all about him — Sam was on board with that.”

Following the release of Rolling Stone‘s report, The Weeknd took to Twitter on March 1 and jabbed at the allegations by sharing a scene from the the show, in which his character bashes the news outlet. He also cheekily asked, “Did we upset you?”

In a statement given to PEOPLE, HBO denied the accusations and shared how the network is excited about the new show. “The creators and producers of The Idol have been working hard to create one of HBO’s most exciting and provocative original programs. The initial approach on the show and production of the early episodes, unfortunately, did not meet HBO standards so we chose to make a change. Throughout the process, the creative team has been committed to creating a safe, collaborative, and mutually respectful working environment, and last year, the team made creative changes they felt were in the best interest of both the production and the cast and crew. We look forward to sharing The Idol with audiences soon,” the statement read.

Lily-Rose also gave her own statement to PEOPLE and praised Sam Levinson, saying, “Sam is, for so many reasons, the best director I have ever worked with. Never have I felt more supported or respected in a creative space, my input and opinions more valued. Working with Sam is a true collaboration in every way – it matters to him, more than anything, not only what his actors think about the work, but how we feel performing it. He hires people whose work he esteems and has always created an environment in which I felt seen, heard, and appreciated.”

The Idol reportedly wrapped filming in October 2022, even though production was supposed to be finished long before then. A crew member told Rolling Stone they were “drained” by the end of filming. HollywoodLife will continue to share updates on The Idol right here.

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