All hail The Weeknd.
Abel Tesfaye, stage name The Weeknd, directs HBO’s sizzling upcoming drama “The Idol,” co-created by “Euphoria” showrunner Sam Levinson. Tesfaye plays an evil club owner who preys on pop star Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp) while maintaining cult status. It turns out that Tesfaye’s real-life The Weeknd fans partly inspired the concept behind the sinister series.
“Abel came to us with an introduction,” Levinson said w magazine. “He said something I will always remember: ‘If I wanted to start a cult, I could.’ What he meant was that his fans were so loyal and devoted that they would follow him anywhere.”
Levinson continued, “That was the germ of the idea for ‘The Idol’: what happens when a pop star falls for the wrong guy and nobody talks.”
While the HBO series went through a huge reshoot, a casting change, and a director change, Levinson and Tesfaye agreed that the series needed to be right in line with their original vision. Levinson followed Tesfaye to Coachella to see him on stage as The Weeknd.
“He stood to the side, but he watched how I moved and what it was like for me,” recalled Tesfaye. “Sam figured out something crucial about how to create this show.”
The “After Hours” singer added, “I’ve always been the anti-hero. At the beginning of my career, I didn’t show myself at all. I didn’t want to be famous. For the first couple of years, no one knew what I looked like.
He reflected, “As a kid, I loved hearing myself sing. But I was really shy and wouldn’t do it in public. I didn’t know if I was good or not. In high school my love for movies was born. I grew up with ‘The Mask’ and ‘Jurassic Park’. Jim Carrey and the dinosaurs! Movies helped me write better songs, but I thought my ticket out of the hood was music… Movies and TV are a new creative muscle for me. I don’t release my music until I think it’s great. Why should this be any different?
“The Idol” will premiere in Cannes in 2023 before debuting on HBO on June 4th.