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The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp respond to claims of troubled production on The Idol

Written by on March 2, 2023

The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp have responded to claims suggesting production on their TV series The Idol has been plagued by problems.

On Wednesday, editors at Rolling Stone published a report in which 13 sources connected to the HBO drama series alleged the production was messy and chaotic, with spiralling budgets and shooting schedules.

Production went on hiatus in April 2022 after director Amy Seimetz dropped out of the project, having filmed about 80 per cent of the show. Co-creator and co-writer Sam Levinson, best known for his HBO drama Euphoria, was brought in as director when filming resumed that May and he reportedly rewrote and reshot the entire show from scratch.

He reportedly scrapped Seimetz’s “female lens” approach to the feature, about Depp’s troubled pop star falling victim to The Weeknd’s cult leader, and made it into a twisted love story featuring gratuitous nudity, explicit sexual content, and depictions of abuse.

In response, the pop star, real name Abel Tesfaye, shared an unseen clip from The Idol in which his and Depp’s characters Tedros and Jocelyn criticise Rolling Stone when their publicist suggests doing a cover.

In the clip, Tedros calls the publication “irrelevant” and insists “nobody cares” about it, while Jocelyn says it’s “past its prime”.

Captioning the footage, the Blinding Lights singer, who makes his acting debut in the show, wrote, “@rollingstone did we upset you?”

Meanwhile, Depp came to the defence of Levinson in a statement to multiple outlets, calling him “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. 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,” she continued. “He hires people whose work he esteems and has always created an environment in which I felt seen, heard and appreciated.”

HBO officials also insisted, “Throughout the process, the creative team has been committed to creating a safe, collaborative, and mutually respectful working environment, and last year, the team made creative changes they felt were in the best interest of both the production and the cast and crew.”

A release date for The Idol has not yet been announced.

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