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lily-rose depp and the weeknd in the idol
lily-rose depp and the weeknd in the idol
Culture > Entertainment

Here’s How HBO & ‘The Idol’ Cast Responded To Claims Of Drama On Set

HBO’s new series The Idol has been highly anticipated since it was revealed that The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp would star in the show. However, when Rolling Stone released a piece claiming that the show took a “twisted” turn on March 1, it’s clear that all eyes didn’t just turn to the story; they’re now glued. I was pretty intrigued when I first learned about the rising Hollywood starlet plot that the show is set to follow, and now I’m even more interested to learn if the set of filming was as toxic as sources are claiming. But, what has the cast and HBO said about Rolling Stone’s shocking article? I’m here to let you know just that.

If you’re unsure what The Idol is all about, the show is set to star Depp’s character, Jocelyn, as a rising pop star who forms a relationship with The Weeknd’s character, Tedros, who happens to be a cult leader. Essentially, the show is set to highlight the darker sides of the entertainment industry. While Depp and The Weeknd’s names were enough to draw attention, there are even more celebrities set to appear in the show. Artists like Troye Sivan and Jennie Kim from Blackpink are cast members that have audiences wanting to know more about the show, in combination with its controversial plotline. 

It’s really been quite the talking point since it was announced for development in 2021. But, Rolling Stone claims that the show “has gone wildly, disgustingly off the rails” with support from 13 anonymous sources that worked on the show.

The production of what Rolling Stone claims is HBO’s “next Euphoria” has gone through some evident shifts over the course of filming. On April 25, 2022, it was revealed that The Idol’s initial director, Amy Seimetz, was leaving the project. HBO attributed Seimetz’s exit from the show to “new creative direction.” Moving forward, Euphoria’s very own Sam Levinson took over as the show’s new director, reportedly choosing to “[scrap] the nearly finished $54-$75 million project to rewrite and reshoot the entire thing.”

So, what does HBO and the rest of the high-profile cast of The Idol have to say about Rolling Stone’s claims? Quite a bit, actually.

HBO revealed they made some changes to The Idol during filming.

Clearly addressing reports that Levinson stepped in and decided to completely reshoot The Idol, HBO has insisted that this was just not the case. In a statement to Variety, HBO said that the show went through some changes and shifts to foster “a safe, collaborative, and mutually respectful working environment.” Additionally, they added that “the initial approach on the show and production of the early episodes, unfortunately, did not meet HBO standards so we chose to make a change,” which subsequently led to all of the shifts surrounding The Idol.

Depp defended Levinson as the show’s director.

The leading actress of The Idol, Depp, had quite a lot to say in defense of the show’s director. While the Rolling Stone article claimed that there were “divisions among Levinson’s inner circle” that led to not-so smooth sailing while filming, Depp disputed these claims entirely. In her statement to Variety, Depp revealed that Levinson was “the best director” she had worked with thus far. 

She went on to rave about working with him, stating, “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. He hires people whose work he esteems and has always created an environment in which I felt seen, heard, and appreciated.”

The Weeknd threw major shade in an internet-breaking Instagram post.

If you haven’t heard about this, grab your popcorn — it’s about to get juicy. Firing back at Rolling Stone, The Weeknd took to his personal Instagram page to directly confront the publication. He shared a clip from The Idol that highlighted his and Depp’s characters discrediting Rolling Stone (and no, I’m not lying). When Jocelyn is offered a cover spread with the magazine, Tedros calls them “irrelevant.” 

Tedros goes on to state that, “Rolling Stone has 6 million followers on Instagram, half of them probably bots. And Jocelyn has 78 million followers, all real I’d assume. So she does a photo shoot, she tags them, they get her followers. More money for Rolling Stone, nothing for Jocelyn.” 

The Weeknd then captioned that video, “did we upset you?” while tagging the official Rolling Stone Instagram. Wow, shots were really fired here.

Rolling Stone’s editor-in-chief said they weren’t upset “at all.”

Finally, Noah Scachtman took to Twitter to reply to The Weeknd’s post, simply stating “Not at all!” with two photos of covers that the artist had done with the publication. 

What’s next to come in this drama between HBO and Rolling Stone? I’m not sure, but I’m dying to find out. At this point, we know that HBO has revealed that The Idol will be coming out sometime in 2023, so it looks like all of our riveting questions will be answered sooner rather than later.

McKinley Franklin is a writer and recent college graduate from East Carolina University. She was Her Campus' fall 2022 entertainment and culture intern and is a current national writer. McKinley specializes in entertainment coverage, though her favorite niche of the industry is reality television.