The Weeknd and Sam Levinson’s New HBO Series Looks Even Wilder Than Euphoria
There haven’t been many details about The Idol, the new HBO series co-created by (and starring) The Weeknd (who also stars) and Euphoria mastermind Sam Levinson, since its initial greenlight last fall. But that changed Saturday when Weeknd opened the Met Life stop on his After Hours til Dawn tour with a new 90-second teaser.
From the opening seconds, which tout the “sick and twisted minds” of Weeknd and Levinson as a selling point, we’re thrust into a torrent of Hollywood excess, centered around a young pop star played by Lily-Rose Depp, who develops a romantic relationship with The Weeknd’s character, a self-help entrepreneur who also happens to run a cult.
The trailer bills the series as “The sleaziest love story in all of Hollywood.” That claim seems well-supported, with the clip’s rapid cuts of e sex, Spanish-style mansions, cocaine, guns, and hazy shots of packed clubs. It seems like Levinson is doubling down on every aesthetic indulgence that propelled Euphoria to become one of HBO’s most-watched shows.
The Idol has undergone significant changes since its production began. Back in April, Deadline reported that, after already shooting multiple episodes, series director Amy Seimetz (co-creator of Starz’s The Girlfriend Experience) and co-star Suzanna Son were leaving the show, which, would be going in a “new creative direction,” as per HBO. Sources told Deadline that The Weeknd had been unhappy with the way the show had been going, and “[felt] the show was leaning too much into a ‘female perspective,’” focusing more on Lily-Rose Depp’s character than his.
Deeper involvement from Levinson has already been met with intense skepticism due to a mixed public response for Euphoria’s second season, with outspoken viewers on social media criticizing the amount of female nudity, treatment of their characters, and a less-than-diverse writers room.
Since several episodes of The Idol had already been shot when the major creative overhaul happened, it’s unclear whether the series will fulfill its original seven episode order from HBO or be trimmed down.