For better or for worse, ‘The Idol’ is shaping up to become one of the most talked about TV shows of the summer when it premieres on HBO next month. The sizzling drama, which comes from creators Sam Levinson and The Weeknd (who works under his real name Abel Tesfaye), tells the story of a pop star (Lily-Rose Depp) who falls under the influence of a guru turned leader of a sect (Tesfaye). The show has made headlines for its troubled production process, but the pedigree of the talent involved and its coveted place at Cannes have ensured that expectations are still high.
If nothing else, many viewers will likely tune in out of curiosity about Tesfaye’s abilities. In a new interview with W magazineTesfaye spoke about the process of transitioning from music to acting and the challenge of going back and forth.
“It was hard to go from head to head,” Tesfaye said of returning to music after filming. “Then, after the concert, I lost my voice. No voices came out. It has never happened before. My theory is that I forgot how to sing because I was playing Tedros, a character who can’t sing. Maybe I’m looking too deeply into this, but it was terrifying. Like The Weeknd, I’ve never missed a concert. I performed with the flu. I will die on that stage. But there was something very complicated on my mind at the time.
While Tesfaye was ultimately able to slip back into a musical headspace and get back to performing as The Weeknd, he said he sees “The Idol” as an opportunity to shed the persona that made him a pop star. While he still wants to pursue a variety of film and music projects in the future, he hopes the show will allow him to expand his creative horizons beyond being The Weeknd.
“I’m going through a cathartic journey right now,” she said. “It’s coming to a place and time where I’m getting ready to close the chapter of The Weeknd. I’ll still be making music, maybe like Abel, maybe like The Weeknd. But I still want to kill The Weeknd. And I will. In the end. I’m definitely trying to shed that skin and be reborn.
“The Idol” will screen at the Cannes Film Festival before premiering on HBO on Sunday, June 4.