Sam Levinson’s new HBO series, “The Idol,” starring Lily-Rose Depp and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, received an enthusiastic standing ovation lasting over five minutes at its world premiere during the Cannes Film Festival. The event took place on Monday night and the series was screened out of competition.
After showcasing the first two episodes of the upcoming series, Levinson, the creator of “Euphoria” who co-created this show with Tesfaye and Reza Fahim, became emotional while addressing the audience at the Grand Theatre Lumiere. Standing alongside his two stars, he expressed immense pride in the show and the way it was made. He even described the production as a family, acknowledging that it may sound a little peculiar.
Tesfaye, the popular music artist making his acting debut, was seen wiping away tears during the event.
“The Idol” revolves around Depp’s character, Jocelyn, a highly ambitious pop star reminiscent of Britney Spears, who has recently experienced a breakthrough in the cutthroat world of showbiz. Following a previous tour interruption due to a nervous breakdown, she is determined to reclaim her status as the greatest and sexiest pop star in America.
The first two episodes, screened during the premiere, introduced Jocelyn’s dissatisfaction with her comeback record and her decision to delay its release. She encounters Tesfaye’s character, Tedros, an owner of a nightclub with a shady past, at his establishment, and they quickly establish a connection. Tedros exerts coercive control over Jocelyn, introducing elements of BDSM akin to “50 Shades of Grey,” and convinces her to remix her record on the spot, incorporating sounds of her sexual expressions.
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However, Jocelyn’s record label rejects the new remix and demands she pull herself together, as they have suffered significant financial losses due to her previous breakdown and withdrawal from the tour.
Tedros plays hard to get, and glimpses of his dubious behavior, such as subjecting someone to a taser, are revealed. He eventually reveals his intention to move in with Jocelyn, setting the stage for further drama.
Meanwhile, it becomes apparent that Tedros is not only a club owner but also a “music manager.” Jocelyn’s best friend and assistant grow suspicious, and her team, including her manager played by Hank Azaria, delve into Tedros’ past, sensing that he might be trouble. The full extent of his dubious nature, however, remains unknown.
Lily-Rose Depp captivated the Croisette with her portrayal of the price of fame in the provocative and intriguing “The Idol” premiere at Cannes. The series, an HBO original, became the first TV show to officially debut at the festival, generating considerable buzz.
Drawing parallels to real-life superstar meltdowns, such as the experiences of Britney Spears, the series delves into the life of a pop phenomenon, played by Depp, who grapples with a psychological breakdown following her mother’s death. A group of exploitative handlers, portrayed brilliantly by Jane Adams, Hank Azaria, and Eli Roth, are desperate to launch a new album and tour. Amidst her struggles, she encounters Tesfaye’s character, Tedros, who runs a nightclub and becomes both a confidant and someone with ambitious plans for her career and his own financial gain. Tedros embodies the characteristics of a modern-day cult leader. The supporting cast includes Suzanna Son, Troye Sivan, Dan Levy, Rachel Sennott, and more.
Moments of respite from Jocelyn’s constant exploitation, both sexually and financially, come in the form of her best friend and assistant, played by Rachel Sennott, as well as her advisor, portrayed by Da’Vine Joy Randolph. However, Jocelyn remains a vulnerable individual searching for recognition as an artist and a woman, while Tedros is eager to take advantage of her.
Similar to Levinson’s previous work, “Euphoria,” the production of “The Idol” faced reports of on-set turmoil, including a challenging work environment, last-minute script changes, and budgetary concerns. Original director Amy Seimetz departed from the show in April 2022, despite several episodes already being filmed, due to a shift in creative direction. At the time, there were claims that Tesfaye felt the series leaned too heavily into a “female perspective,” although he has denied these allegations.
In a statement to Variety, HBO emphasized their commitment to a safe, collaborative, and respectful working environment, acknowledging creative changes made in the best interest of the production and the cast and crew. Depp defended Levinson against the accusations, praising him as the best director she has ever worked with, highlighting his support, respect, and value for her input and opinions.
“The Idol” is scheduled to premiere on HBO on June 4.
At the Cannes Film Festival, the series received a warm but standard five-minute standing ovation from the audience, alongside polite applause. Levinson, expressing his gratitude, addressed the reports of behind-the-scenes turmoil and asserted his pride in the show and the process of its creation.
What is the release date of The Idol?
The release date of “The Idol” is June 4th 2023
What is new HBO series The Idol about?
“The Idol” is a new HBO series that revolves around the story of Jocelyn, a highly ambitious pop star named Jocelyn, portrayed by Lily-Rose Depp.
What happened at the world premiere of “The Idol” at the Cannes Film Festival?
The series received a standing ovation lasting over five minutes after its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. It was screened out of competition, and the event garnered enthusiastic applause and a few tears.