Amid a bit of drama surrounding HBO’s “The Idol,” the Weeknd-led series is in talks to debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May, multiple sources confirm to Variety.
Star Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye previously attended Cannes Film Festival and is hopeful the show premieres there, according to one source, but the festival has not yet screened the drama, which has undergone a great number of changes behind the scenes. HBO is not commenting at this time.
Though primarily a film festival, a handful of TV series have been brought to Cannes in the past, including “Twin Peaks: The Return” and “Top of the Lake: China Doll.”
Although HBO has released three teasers for “The Idol,” a premiere date has yet to be announced. It is eyed for some time in 2023, but there have been multiple signs of trouble. In April 2022, director Amy Seimetz suddenly exited after multiple episodes had been completed.
Earlier this month, Rolling Stone reported that the Sam Levinson-led series, which underwent multiple reshoots, has “gone wildly, disgustingly off the rails,” with sources claiming that its tone is “disturbing” and that many scenes include intense violence against women. However, sources told Variety the series still represents a “female perspective,” with Lily-Rose Depp as the lead.
Tesfaye responded to Rolling Stone’s peice with a clip from the series that he posted on Instagram and Twitter. The clip featured his character, a modern-day cult leader, and Depp’s pop star character, Jocelyn, as they reject an offer for a Rolling Stone profile.
“Rolling Stone? Aren’t they a little irrelevant?” Tesfaye’s character says. “Rolling Stone has 6 million followers on Instagram, half of them probably bots. And Jocelyn has 78 million followers, all real I’d assume. So she does a photo shoot, she tags them, they get her followers. More money for Rolling Stone, nothing for Jocelyn.”
While many of the reports on “The Idol” have been critical of Levinson, Depp came to his defense.
“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,” she said in statement to Variety. “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.”
Elsa Keslassey contributed to this report.