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Sam Levinson Reveals How The Weeknd Pitched the HBO Series

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After years of being in the works and some eye-catching behind-the-scenes reports, The Idol is finally arriving on HBO next month. The drama series is expected to take a surreal approach to the world of music and pop superstardom, with Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye both starring in and co-creating the series with Sam Levinson and Reza Fahim. Levinson, who is also known for bringing HBO’s Euphoria to life, recently revealed the unconventional way that The Idol came to be. During a recent interview with W Magazine, Levinson revealed that Tesfaye himself pitched the series after offering a frank perspective on his own celebrity.

“Abel came to us with a pitch,” Levinson revealed. “He said something that I’ll always remember: ‘If I wanted to start a cult, I could.’ What he meant is that his fans were so loyal and devoted that they would follow him anywhere. That was the germ of the idea for The Idol: what happens when a pop star falls for the wrong guy and no one speaks up.”

What is The Idol about?

The Idol focuses on Jocelyn (Lily-Rose Depp), an aspiring pop idol who, after having a nervous breakdown that causes her last tour to be canceled, resolves to reclaim her title as the sexiest pop star in America and begins a complex relationship with Tedros (Tesfaye), a self-help guru and the head of a contemporary cult.

The Idol also stars Suzanna Son, Troye Sivan, Moses Sumney, Jane Adams, Dan Levy, Jennie Ruby Jane, Eli Roth, Rachel Sennott, Hari Nef, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Mike Dean, Ramsey, and Hank Azaria.

What happened with The Idol?

Last year, it was announced that The Idol would be creatively retooled, with original director The Girlfriend Experience series co-creator Amy Seimetz dropping out of the project even after production on most of the series had been completed.

“The Idol’s creative team continues to build, refine, and evolve their vision for the show and they have aligned on a new creative direction,” HBO said in a statement back in April about the show’s direction. “The production will be adjusting its cast and crew accordingly to best serve this new approach to the series. We look forward to sharing more information soon.”

Will you be tuning in to The Idol? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

The Idol is set to premiere on HBO on Sunday, June 4th, with episodes also streaming on Max. If you haven’t signed up for Max yet, you can do so here.

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