Original Article – While screening the first two episodes of The Idol at Cannes, co-creators Sam Levinson and Abel Tesfaye (the artist formerly known as The Weeknd) and star Lily-Rose Depp addressed Rolling Stone’s report about the behind-the-scenes chaos plaguing the hotly anticipated series.
“When my wife read me the article I looked at her and I said, ‘I think we are about to have the biggest show of the summer,’” Levinson said at a press conference on Tuesday, per The Hollywood Reporter.
“We know we are making a show that is provocative. It is not lost on us,” he added. But as for any allegations of on-set turmoil, he said, “It just felt completely foreign to me. But I know who I am… People can write whatever they want. If I have a slight objection, it’s that they intentionally omitted anything that didn’t fit their narrative. But I think we have seen a lot of that lately.”
In Rolling Stone’s report, one unnamed production member said that Levinson’s vision for The Idol, which tells the story of a pop star (Depp) and a Svengali-like producer (Tesfaye), “was like any rape fantasy that any toxic man would have in the show—and then the woman comes back for more because it makes her music better.”
Depp pushed back against those claims in the same press conference at Cannes, saying, “It’s always a little sad and disheartening to see these mean, false things about somebody that you really care about and that you know is not like that.”
Fellow The Idol co-star Hank Azaria also defended Levinson, saying, “It would be like going on the set of Curb Your Enthusiasm or a Judd Apatow movie, where people are improvising brilliantly and saying, ‘Oh, they must not know their lines.’ I’ve been on many a dysfunctional set; this was the exact opposite. I felt challenged for the first time in many, many years.”
As for Tesfaye, he acknowledged in the press conference that the HBO drama, which premieres June 4, will “piss some people off.”
“I initially wanted to make a dark twisted fairy tale about the music industry and heighten it,” he explained. “[Sam and I] wanted to really see if we could create our own pop star, using my experiences, using his experiences, using Lily’s experiences from her point of view, to create something special, daring, exciting, fun, to make some people laugh and to piss some people off.”
Looks like that mission has already been accomplished.