The Weeknd Reportedly Caused ‘The Idol’ To Be Overhauled Because Of Its ‘Female Perspective’

The Weeknd’s breakout role in the HBO series The Idol, might not have been quite the creative environment parties were looking for. The “Die For You” singer may have broken several streaming records, including becoming the first artist to cross the 100 million monthly listeners metric; however, according to reports, his television and film career could be off to a rocky start.

The recording artist, real name Abel Makkonen Tesfaye joined forces with Reza Fahim and Euphoria creator Sam Levinson to bring, in the network’s words, the “sleaziest love story in all of Hollywood” to light. While the show, slated to be released later this year, has recently undergone a “new creative direction,” Rolling Stone reports that the pivot wasn’t received well by cast and crew members.

According to Rolling Stone, the Oscar-nominated singer was not pleased that his co-star Lily-Rose Depp’s character received a bulk of the plot’s attention. As a result, allegedly, Tesfaye championed a major behind-the-scenes narrative shift to drop the story’s “feminist lens.”

A source told RS, “It was like the Weeknd wanted one show that was all about him — Sam was on board with that.” This could have supposedly played a part in director Amy Seimetz’s exit from the series back in April 2022. Another source shared, “What I signed up for was a dark satire of fame and the fame model in the 21st century,” but since the changes, “It went from satire to the thing it was satirizing.”

“It was like, ‘What is this? What am I reading here,’” said the source adding, “It was like sexual torture porn.”

The source shared that although Seimetz’s version would have contained sex scenes and nudity, production sources claim Levinson dramatically ramped up the explicit content with Tesfaye’s full support after taking over as director.

The outlet reached out to both Levinson and Tesfaye for comment. However, neither answered the request. On the other hand, Depp did provide a statement to Rolling Stone, in which she specifically sings the praises of Levinson. “Sam is, for so many reasons, the best director I have ever worked with. 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.”

Despite the anonymous reports shared with RS, HBO shared in a statement, “The creators and producers of The Idol have been working hard to create one of HBO’s most exciting and provocative original programs. 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. Throughout the process, the creative team has been committed to creating a safe, collaborative, and mutually respectful working environment, and last year, the team made creative changes they felt were in the best interest of both the production and the cast and crew. We look forward to sharing The Idol with audiences soon..”