The Weeknd has always been a fan of slightly obscure music videos, and now - much to our surprise, the artist has announced he will be starring in and co-writing a HBO series entitled The Idol with the mastermind behind Euphoria, Sam Levinson. Initially, it was a simple tale about a pop singer who falls into a romance with a cult leader, but HBO has just announced that it would be making major changes to the creative vision of the show, which is due to include adjustments to the cast and production crew. “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,” a HBO spokesperson told Deadline. “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.” Here's everything we know so far.
What is the plot of The Idol?
When news of the show first broke, it was to be that Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) would serve as co-writer and executive producer along with Reza Fahim and Sam Levinson, with all three credited as creators of the show, and will reportedly follow a female pop singer who falls into a romance with an enigmatic L.A. club owner who is the leader of a secret cult. It sounds - and I cannot stress this enough - like exactly the kind of production Tesfaye would create given the chance. Now, however, the most recent plot line has gone with a slight adjustment, the club owner's character is now reportedly on track to become a self-help guru and cult leader instead, focussing on him specifically, exploring his relationship with the female pop star. No shade to Tesfaye, but this tracks if he is still to play the lead.
Who else is working on it?
According to Variety, who broke the news, Joseph Epstein will write alongside the three, and executive produce in addition to serving as showrunner. Mary Laws will also write and co-executive produce. Levinson will executive produce via Little Lamb along with Ashley Levinson and Kevin Turen. Aaron L. Gilbert will executive produce via Bron Studios. Wassim “SAL” Slaiby and La Mar C. Taylor will co-executive produce.
This is not in fact Tesfaye's first on-screen rodeo. He wrote and starred in an episode of American Dad back in 2020, and he played himself in the critically-acclaimed film Uncut Gems opposite Adam Sandler, which we will now go ahead and watch, for research purposes. This will be Levinson's second HBO venture since the cult status Euphoria, in which season two is currently underway.
Who has been cast?
Initially, the only two confirmed for a role in the series were Tesfaye and Lily-Rose Depp, whose character is unofficial at this stage. Deadline reports that Depp will likely play the troubled pop star, which makes sense given her mother's singing background, but HBO have not confirmed anything thus far. Thankfully, there have been some developments, although it's all a bit up in the air right now. Troye Sivan, Suzanna Son and Steve Zissis, as well as Tyson Ritter were all cast, alongside Melanie Liburd, Maya Eshet and Nico Hiraga.
How Many episodes are there?
The Idol has been commissioned as a six-part miniseries.
When can we watch The Idol?
After months of waiting on tenterhooks for an official premiere date, The Idol, we finally have some concrete answers. The highly anticipated show is set to premiere off-schedule at Cannes Film Festival this May. According to IndieWire, the audience will be able to watch "two or three" showcased episodes.
For those of us who aren't attending Cannes, when will we be watching The Idol? During a live-streamed conversation during the Global Demand Awards, HBO's chairman and CEO Casey Bloys revealed that The Idol will stream, after the fourth season of Succession which kicks off its 10-episode season on March 27 and ends May 29. Following this logic, we'll be binging The Idol in June.
We're certainly curious about how The Idol will turn out, with heavy use of coloured gel lights, we suspect. Stay tuned for updates as they come.