The Idol: Release date, trailer, and news for The Weeknd series
The controversial new series is released this week and stars Lily-Rose Depp and The Weeknd.
Euphoria fans, this one's for you: Hard-hitting HBO Max series The Idol is landing on our screens very soon and comes from none other than Euphoria director Sam Levinson.
After premiering at Cannes Film Festival on Monday 22nd May, the series has continued to garner a very mixed response, with some of the first reactions comparing it to pornography, while others have heralded it as Lily-Rose Depp's "strongest performance to date".
As well as premiering alongside its fair share of controversy, the series now also boasts an accompanying album release from Abel Tesfaye, also known by his stage name of The Weeknd, who is one of the lead actors and co-creators of the series alongside Levinson.
The series stars Depp as troubled popstar, Jocelyn, and explores how she falls prey to club owner and cult leader Tedros (Tesfaye).
The series has been in the works for a number of years with the team of executive producers also including Reza Fahim. It's been billed as an even wilder, crazier and more risqué version of Levinson’s Euphoria but has had its fair share of behind-the-scenes drama also.
The Idol had been previously directed by Amy Seimetz but, in April 2022, Seimetz exited the project. A statement from HBO (via The Hollywood Reporter) said at the time: "The Idol’s creative team continues to build, refine, and evolve their vision for the show and they have aligned on a new creative direction.
"The production will be adjusting its cast and crew accordingly to best serve this new approach to the series. We look forward to sharing more information soon."
Levinson took over as director and the entire first season was shot. In March, Rolling Stone published an article alleging the TV series had gone “wildly, disgustingly off the rails” and was a “sh**tshow” to create.
The article also detailed concerns from sources involved in the production about scenes which resembled "rape fantasy".
A source also told the publication that Tesfaye wanted to "tone down the cult aspect of the storyline and pivot into something else entirely, dropping the ‘feminist lens’ through which the show was being told as a result". You can read more here.
Aside from the controversy, the cast is packed full of talent, with the likes of Blackpink's Jennie, Troye Sivan, singer-songwriter Moses Sumney and Broadway star Da'Vine Joy Randolph all part of the series, as well as Dan Levy (Schitt's Creek), Hank Azaria (The Simpsons) and Hari Nef (You).
Read on for everything you need to know about The Idol.
The Idol release date UK
The show will first air in the US on Sunday 4th June on HBO Max.
The UK release date has been confirmed and the series will air exclusively on Monday 5th June with the first episode being available to watch on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW.
Episodes are then expected to then air on a weekly basis.
The Idol plot: What's the series about?
The series, which is being marketed as "the sleaziest love story in all of Hollywood", will tell the story of a self-help guru and cult leader who strikes up a relationship with an up-and-coming pop idol.
The series has been co-created by Abel Tesfaye, AKA The Weeknd, as well as Euphoria creator Sam Levinson and businessman Reza Fahim.
The Idol has been described as a "provocative drama set against the backdrop of Hollywood’s music industry" and follows the story of Jocelyn, a rising pop star who faces the challenges of fame as she navigates a relationship with club owner Tedros.
As per the official series synopsis: "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.
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"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?"
Who stars in The Idol?
The series stars Abel Tesfaye/The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp as cult leader Tedros and upcoming pop idol Jocelyn respectively.
They will be joined by Troye Sivan, Jennie Kim, Debby Ryan, Rachel Sennott, Steve Zissis, Hari Nef and Juliebeth Gonzalez.
Character details are currently sparse but we do know that cast members range from being close friends of Jocelyn's to loyal devotees of Tedros.
The full list of cast members for The Idol is available here.
The show underwent a creative overhaul in April 2022, with the director and some cast members exiting the project. Deadline reported at the time that sources had said this was because The Weeknd "felt the show was leaning too much into a 'female perspective'".
HBO has since said: "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."
Is there a trailer for The Idol?
There is! As well as multiple teasers being dropped for The Idol – including a sneak peek at the series in the music video for The Weeknd's single Double Fantasy – there is now an official trailer.
In it, you can see how the relationship between Jocelyn and Tedros quickly intensifies, making those around her nervous for what's to come. Watch the trailer below.
The trailer follows on from the four already released teasers for the series, the most recent of which can be found below.
The Idol will air on 4th June on HBO in the US and on 5th June on Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK – sign up for Sky TV here.
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