In 2021 HBO officially presented the project the idol, a series produced by Sam Levinson in the company of singer The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye). However, already fully entered at the end of the first quarter of 2023, the program still does not have a clear release date. The reason is none other than a problematic production, sudden changes in the story and the initial abandonment of a director who failed to get along with the famous creator of Euphoria.
Although these things are common in the world of entertainment, rolling stones ensures that behind the idol there is an even more disturbing story. The magazine interviewed just over a dozen members of the production who chose to remain anonymous. His revelations speak of a producer who turned the Show about a romantic relationship with power dynamics, in a misogynistic story, full of gratuitous sex and abuse.
At first Amy Seimetz would be in charge of directing the six episodes that make up the series. However, in mid-April 2022 the director left the project. It was then that Sam Levinson took the role as director. His arrival instead of reconciling what might have been a problem over a Show half-finished, has turned the entire production into a “true hell.”
Sam Levinson and The Weeknd changed the history of the idol
One of the reasons why the idol has become so controversial is because Sam Levinson has changed the perspective on more than one occasion, at the request of The Weeknd. Initially the series would be about a rising pop star named Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp), who develops an intense relationship with a music producer named Tedros (Abel Tesfaye).
Supposedly the story would be told from a female perspective. With certain touches of feminism. But in the end both Tesfaye and Levinson decided to change it completely. Even some of the anonymous tipsters said that it was the famous singer The Weeknd who suggested that Depp’s character had much more prominence than his own, thus demanding changes in the plot.
In this way the scripts of the program were constantly rewritten. Almost always on a daily basis. Scenes that were written at the same time that they were shot. Or creepy changes that completely twisted the meaning of the scene. In addition, Levinson included scenes with very strong and even disturbing sexual content.
“I agreed to do a dark satire on fame and industry in the 21st century. The things we subject our talent and stars to, the forces that put people in the spotlight, and how that can be manipulated in the post-Trump world. However, the show went from being a satire to the very thing it was satirizing.”
Many members of the production stated that Seimetz’s initial approach was to portray a star in trouble, who falls victim to a predatory industry figure. But Levinson turned it into a demeaning love story with an empty message that many people on the production have called offensive.
The real reason for Amy Seimetz leaving
Before the departure of Amy Seimetz, the production was already chaotic. At first Sam Levinson would be in charge only as a producer because he was very busy finishing the second season of Euphoria. But since both series were shot in unison, on sets a short distance apart, Levinson often visited the set of the idol.
During his visits there were problems. He disagreed with Seimetz’s approach to the series. At first HBO even entrusted the writing and ending of the story to the director, which is why she directed and wrote the final scripts in parallel time. However, her disagreements with Levinson ended in big fights, with HBO always giving Levinson the spot.
Other sources point out that from the beginning HBO assigned Seimetz an almost impossible task. With limited budgets (only 9 million per episode), half-finished scripts and fairly short delivery times. However, the director gave her all and did her best. Many members of the production were quite upset when her departure was announced.
Seimetz came out in April and production then went on hiatus for several months. By the time filming resumed, now under Levinson’s command, many crew members decided not to return.
“Enter to the idol thinking that it could be an interesting collaboration, but I left her quite convinced that [Levinson] It’s not entirely collaborative,” a source said. “It’s really frustrating to see Amy doing everything she can to deliver some kind of product that she can be a little bit proud of to HBO…and then [a HBO] turn around and have Sam essentially receive a blank check to turn it all into Euphoria«.
The budget of the idol
HBO did not want to spend more than necessary on a new series that would premiere its first season. Reason for allocating only $54 million for the entire project. That is, $9 million per episode. Quite low amounts compared to other programs in the same chain.
However, upon the arrival of Levinson, costs skyrocketed brutally. Ultimately, the total budget for the show is said to be as high as $110 million. Many members of the production complained about the waste of money and when some approached the producer (now turned director) to advise him on that, he replied “If you want a third season of EuphoriaThey will give me what I want.”
Offensive and misogynistic scenes
People from the production report that in the script rewrites made by Levinson, several scenes were added that were certainly offensive to the actress Lily-Rose Depp. One of them included a sequence where an egg had to be placed in the vagina and walk without breaking it. If she succeeded then Abel Tesfaye’s character would sexually abuse her, according to her character’s requests.
In the end, said sequence was not filmed, because they did not find the adequate logistics to be able to shoot that and be able to tell it with the image without being so explicit. However, Levinson’s intentions were at all times to raise the sexual tone of the program.
In another sequence, The Weeknd’s character punches his co-star and she smiles and asks for more, which gives him a boner. Said scene was also devised by the director, but in the end it was not filmed.
“I was like, ‘What is this? What am I reading here?’” one of the sources said. «It was like sexual torture porn.”
The Weeknd’s statements
Magazine rolling stones He asked to speak to both Sam Levinson and singer The Weeknd. Invitations that were declined by the couple. However, a few moments ago the singer published a clip from the series where his character speaks ill of the magazine itself. He accompanied the video with just the words:
“Have we upset you Rolling Stone?”
Other than that sarcastic post by the singer, no other statement of form has been made by Levinson or Tesfaye. the idol has published some promotional advances where it only ensures that the premiere will be very soon. But it still does not have a confirmed release date.
Luis Angel H. Mora My most stable relationship is with the movies, parties and music. I love writing about cinema, meeting new people and sharing ideas. Idealistic in every way, I guess that’s my Ascendant Aquarian trait.