September 22, 2023

Why there’s controversy about Lily-Rose Depp and the Weeknd’s show

Lily-Rose Depp and The Weeknd in HBO's The Idol.  (Photo: Eddy Chen/HBO)

Lily-Rose Depp and The Weeknd in HBOs The idol. (Photo: Eddy Chen/HBO)

As they say in Hollywood, any publicity is good publicity, and The idol is about to put that old adage to the test. HBO’s new show starring Lily-Rose Depp and the Weeknd premieres Sunday, so people will finally see for themselves if it’s really as outrageous as reports suggest.

The show follows Depp’s character Jocelyn, a sexy pop star trying to reclaim her crown after a nervous breakdown. While trying to make a comeback, Jocelyn tangles with nightclub owner Tedros (played by Abel “the Weeknd” Tesfaye), who leads an NXIVM-type cult. “Will her romantic awakening take her to glorious new heights or to the deepest and darkest depths of her soul?” reads the logline.

This is why The idolhas sparked controversy in recent months.

Director Amy Seimetz is leaving the series

This was announced in April 2022 The idol underwent a major creative overhaul. Seimetz, who nearly completed the entire project, left, as did up-and-coming actress Suzanna Son. According to Deadline, “the crux of the issue” was that Tesfaye — who co-created the series with Euphoria‘s Sam Levinson – felt the show leaned too much towards a ‘female perspective’. (He later denied this in interviews.)

The idol labeled “torture porn”. Rolling stone disclosure

Thirteen members of the cast and crew spoke to the outlet anonymously, claiming the show had gone “wildly, disgustingly off the rails.” Levinson essentially scrapped the entire first draft of the show, causing costly and debilitating delays as he reportedly rewrote the series, according to the March report. Alleged turmoil on set coincided with a shift in tone as the series was portrayed as “sexual torture porn”.

“It was, shall we say, a show,” one person claimed.

Seimetz’s version was more about “a troubled starlet who falls victim to a predatory industry figure and fights to reclaim her own agency”. But The idol 2.0, according to one production member, became “like any rape fantasy any toxic man would have on the show — and then the woman comes back for more because it makes her music better.”

Depp and HBO have issued statements defending the show and Levinson.

“Sam is, for so many reasons, the best director I’ve ever worked with. Never have I felt more supported or respected in a creative space, more valued for my input and opinions,” Depp told Yahoo in a statement. “Working with Sam is a real collaboration in every way – it’s more important to him than anything, not just what his actors think of the work, but also how we feel when we perform it. He hires people from whom he the work appreciates and always has an environment where I felt seen, heard and valued.”

The network added to Yahoo: “The creators and producers of The idol have worked hard to create one of HBO’s most exciting and provocative original programs. Unfortunately, the initial approach to the show and production of the early episodes was not up to HBO standards, so we chose to make a change. Throughout the process, the creative team has been committed to creating a safe, collaborative and mutually respectful work environment, and last year the team made creative changes that they believed were in the best interests of both the production and the cast and crew. We look forward to sharing The idol soon with the public.”

Rolling stone stuck to his report.

Tesfaye sacrificed his “health and home” to reshoot the show and called the Rolling stone article “ridiculous”

To cut some of the reshoot costs, the superstar allowed the show to be filmed at his mega-mansion in Bel Air, California. Levinson even moved into Tesfaye’s house with his family while he reworked scripts.

“Film and TV are a new creative muscle for me,” Tesfaye said W. “I don’t release my music until I think it’s great. Why should this be any different? … I realized I need to know I’ve made the best version of whatever I’m making. It’s been a challenge to revisit to do The idol, and honestly i sacrificed my health and home to make it work. So let’s say it comes out and it’s fucking awful. I still know that I did my very best. From what I’ve seen, the show is great. Everything is a risk: if you did your best, I would call that a happy ending.”

In a separate interview with Vanity purseexclaimed Tesfaye de Rolling stone exposé “ridiculous.” He was offended by what he considered the subtext of the report – “These are rapists trying to make a rape fantasy” – and thought it an attack on his character. Tesfaye said he considered Depp to be the third creator of the show and dismissed the rumor that he thought the show revolved too much around her character. (“I know it’s easy for people to say, ‘Oh, he wanted to be the star.'”)

Depp added to Vanity purse“I think it’s interesting that people already have so much to say about the show and they haven’t even seen it yet.”

Tesfaye said scheduling conflicts prevented Seimetz from working on new recordings. “I really loved working with Amy,” the musician explained, “and I’m sure she reads all this like, ‘Why am I being thrown into this?'” (She didn’t comment publicly during the drama. )

The idol finally premieres in Cannes – and is being filtered

Initial reviews for the show are not positive. “The idol is more toxic and much worse than you’ve heard,” read Rolling stone‘s head. Variety said the show “plays like a sordid male fantasy.” Time said the series “pretends to expose exploitation while enjoying it”. The cover called it “luxury sleaze.”

Depp’s nudity is also a hot button topic

While the actress was widely praised for her acting, many Cannes articles focused on her “unnecessary” nudity. It’s criticism that Levinson has faced Euphoria, at. Johnny Depp’s daughter defended her character’s “baldness”.

“I think something about Jocelyn is just that she’s a born and raised artist,” she said at a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival. People. “I think this extends to every aspect of her life, not just her professional life. I think the way she dresses, for example, she tries to tell
you something all the time or say something to the people to around her or express themselves in some way.”

The 24-year-old added: “And I also think the character’s occasional nudity physically mirrors the nudity we get to see in her emotionally.”

The idol actress defends Depp’s on-screen nudity

During an interview with Yahoo, Jane Adams hit back at the criticism coming from Cannes.

“With Lily-Rose, why should nudity be a bad thing? What are people talking about? I don’t get it,” she explained. “I don’t even believe that way of thinking is real. That whole way of thinking seems fake to me, this outrage and gems going on about a naked actress who is beautiful. When did that become scandalous?”

Adams called Depp “one of the best actresses I’ve ever worked with” and defended Levinson.

“It’s exciting to work with Sam because you just don’t know what to expect in the best sense. It’s not boring. It’s not safe…it’s the opposite of snoozing,” she stated. “For someone like me who likes an adrenaline rush of sorts, there are plenty to get.”

The veteran actress added: “I don’t know what’s going on in society these days, but there are all these people who pretend they don’t have a dark side. I find that more terrifying than anything in The idol. This whole pretending everyone is Goody Two-shoes is terrifying.”

The idol premieres Sunday, June 4 at 9 p.m. on HBO. It will be available to stream on Max.

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