The Idol: Sam Levinson, Lily-Rose Depp and The Weekend present the provocative series of the summer

From today exclusively on Sky and in Streaming on NOW, The Idol is the flagship series of summer 2023. Created by Sam Levinson and The Weekend, with the latter also co-protagonist, it was premiered at the 76th Cannes Film Festival , where it was also presented by the main interpreter Lily-Rose Depp.

It is certainly the series of the summer if not the series of the year, also because an article in Rolling Stone spoke of a “toxic processing” and some, wrongly, defined it as “porno-sexual torture”, and when things get itchy, you know, the attraction, alas, is irresistible. Of course we are talking about The Idol, arrived just today on Sky and available in streaming on NOW. The creator is the same as Euphoriathat means Sam Levinsonwho invented and scripted it together with Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye e Reza Fahim. The Weekendfor the uninitiated, is a well-known Canadian pop star as well as a record producer, and of The Idol is the male protagonist, while the female protagonist, as well as the character at the center of the story, has the face of Lily-Rose Deppthe daughter of Johnny Depp e you Vanessa Paradis.

The Idol, which tells of a pop star who aims to “catch up” and become a musical icon, had an excellent showcase: the 76th Cannes Film Festival. Presented almost at the end of the French film event, where the first two episodes were shown, the series thrilled the audience. Sam Levinsonwho first heard of Cannes when Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or, was as happy as a kid in a candy store, and too Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye e Lily-Rose Depp they were over the moon. The next day the creative team of The Idol met with journalists, talking about the themes of the series: success, ambition, the weight of expectations, the pros and cons of fame.

Also The Weekend he is a connoisseur of the Cannes Film Festival, and when he frequented it as a spectator, he just didn’t understand why the directors and performers of the films presented were moved at every turn. Now he understands it perfectly, since he too, at the premiere of The Idol, his eyes were shining. First of all, he explains the origin of the project to journalists: “I was interested in inventing a dark and twisted fairy tale about the music industry and taking it to its extreme consequences together with Sam, also taking a cue from a series of films we love that tackle the subject. We started from the following question: can we invent a pop star? Of course we wanted to put in The Idol all of our love for music, and when I realized the importance music had for Sam in EuphoriaSomething clicked inside me. We wanted to bring to life a character who finds himself after being lost, based on my experience as an artist and that of Lily. I was interested in creating something special, daring, fun, that could make you laugh but that was also desecrating to the right point. Other than that, I’ve wanted to work with for years Samwho is above all else a friend of mine.”

Perhaps Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye does not know that the friend Levinson he really thought of him when he created the character of Tedrosa shady and sordid (and basically ridiculous) nightclub manager who makes the protagonist fall in love with The Idol, that is called Jocelyn: “I saw Abel performing for the first time in 2011 or 2012, and I remember him just standing there behind the mic and not moving. Somehow she won me over and I started following her career. I saw him perform in public again when we were already brainstorming ideas for this series. I remember we were in the car together and I was impressed by his level of concentration and his ambition, as well as his deep desire to get the people who had come to hear him attend the best possible concert. We were at a festival and he wasn’t originally supposed to attend. He told me, ‘This isn’t my audience, but I’m going to win it over.” Abel he went on stage and actually faced a difficult audience, because he had been there for three days, he was tired, he wanted to go home, he had a headache and he was dehydrated. Abel he therefore went on stage and at the beginning the audience only moved their heads. He started stirring people up, making eye contact with almost every single person. During the second song, the audience began to melt. At the third, he abandoned himself to music, to the show. I watched him on the monitors and realized how much charisma this guy had and how much he had grown since the first time I saw him perform live. I thought: wow, how much he has grown! And he’s only 32, 33 years old! Then I said to myself, ‘If he can do this, if he can go from being a shy guy behind the mic to a superstar who rocks on stage, that means he has something that one person in 100 billion owns. And there’s something about him that makes you forget all the shit in life. It was an extraordinary moment, and there I realized what this series is really about: it is about ambition and the drive to become a better artist. The Idol is a series about a performer. As for the character played by Abel, I thought: he is an artist who has a very strong personality on his side but is devoid of talent. What would happen if he used charisma for no good? What if he was able to tell a story through a song or a video clip but he wasn’t good at it? I can’t imagine how frustrating that would be for him.”

From the words of Sam Levinsonit seems that the character of Tedros is an execrable and horrendous man. For “The Weeknd” Tesfaye things are not exactly like this: “In the series Tedros works as an obstacle for Jocelynhe has to get something out of her, so he’s bad, he’s a character with a dark side, but while with Sam we were working on this strange guy, somehow we fell in love with him. Without giving too much away, we’ll tell you that he undergoes a transformation.”
Someone asks Tesfaye sand had some role models while working on the character. Here is his answer: “As the character evolves, it’s difficult to identify any reference, but I really don’t think I’ve ever met a guy like him, and maybe that’s lucky. The first model that comes to mind is Dracula“.

Lily Rose Deppwho is a decidedly well-known face, has asked herself several times about what it means to be a celebrity and points out to journalists that popularity is not always a good thing: “When you’re famous” – she explains – “nobody tells you the truth. A lot depends by the people you surround yourself with. Jocelyn he wonders about his entourage. He wonders if everyone is being honest with her and what is the reason they are around her. She wonders if they are actually animated by good feelings or if they have an ulterior motive instead”.

Lily Rose leads a very different life than that of Jocelynbut still understands his drama: “An interesting thing about pop stars and more generally about celebrities is that they are constantly studied and observed, so much so that we imagine we know practically everything about them, and the interesting thing about character work has been to think to what Jocelyn could actually have in his head. ‘What goes on in the psyche of someone who is so observed without actually being seen?’ – I said to myself. ‘And how does the time pass when she’s alone? What impact does your lifestyle have on you? How does it feel to be constantly surrounded by deferential people? I tried to go beyond appearances and dig deep.”

The Idol it’s not exactly a series for children or preteens to watch, because there are quite explicit sex scenes and some actors appear naked. Sam Levinson was keen to clarify what prompted him to leave little to the imagination: “We live in a world where sex figures prominently. In the United States, the influence of pornography on young minds is out of control and reflected on the universe of pop music Lily-Rose we talked at length about the personality of Jocelyn and of his sensuality, or rather of his relationship with sex. When you deal with such a self-aware character with a strong erotic charge, sometimes you end up underestimating him because you don’t fully understand why he wants to underline his sensuality and the importance he gives to sex, just as you don’t understand why he dresses in a certain way and you talk about sex in your songs. And yet it is precisely his erotic charge that fascinates people or rather the public, stimulating his imagination”.

Jocelyn she was born a performer” – she adds Lily-Rose Depp – “and that affects every single aspect of her life, primarily how she dresses and her attempt to communicate something to people through music. I think her physical nakedness mirrors her emotional nakedness and I thought this was a very important aspect of Jocelyn. Among other things, never as in this case have I had the opportunity to contribute to the creation of a character, working for example with costume designers, make-up artists, hairdressers”.

So much Sam Levinson How much Lily-Rose Depp they kept specifying that Jocelyn is not inspired by Britney Spears or to other pop stars who really existed or existed. What if Lily-Rose says there are many huge pop stars and says they influence hers Jocelyn it was the actresses Jeanne Moreau e Sharon Stone, Sam Levinson underlines that what he was interested in narrating and showing was the way the world sees music celebrities and how difficult and often painful it is for these icons to always have to meet expectations. Before greeting the journalists of the Cannes 2023 festival, Levinson briefly talks about the infamous article that appeared in Rolling Stone which we mentioned at the beginning: “I always find it sad and disarming to read mean and false things about someone you really care about. We know very well that we are doing a provocative series. In this field, unfortunately, one is forced to do two jobs: one is the real job, therefore a film or a series, while the other consists in managing one’s own image.The latter is not interesting for me, it is a waste of time and energy. People can write whatever they want. But the thing that hurt me is that all the information contrary to the thesis of the article has been omitted.

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