Even though The Idol received a standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival this week (at this point, who doesn’t get a standing ovation over there?) the actual content of the show is polarizing viewers. The show, from Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, focuses on a fictional pop star named Jocelyn, played by Lily-Rose Depp, and her tumultuous rise to fame.
In the pilot episode, there is a small reference to ’90s pop icon Britney Spears, and many viewers are wondering if the show is loosely based on the singer and her publicized breakdown. Levinson told the critics at Cannes (Via Variety) that while the show’s themes might mirror Spears’ life, they are telling a different type of story.
“Look, I was a kid of the ’90s, and [Britney’s] one of the greatest pop stars of all time,” co-creator Levinson began during the press junket. “And, no, we’re not trying to tell a story about any particular pop star. I think we’re looking more at how the world perceives pop stars, and the pressure that it puts on that individual. It’s a lot of pressure to constantly have to be on, and to have to be what everyone wishes you to be. I also think that it’s a lonely life.”
Is Lily Rose-Depp's pop star in #TheIdol based on Britney Spears? "We're not telling anybody else's story," she says. https://t.co/HWTIBTfaam #Cannes pic.twitter.com/BE3DIy3AGQ
— Variety (@Variety) May 23, 2023
Depp then said that The Idol is not “telling anybody else’s story,” since it is a work of (perhaps over-the-top) fiction. “I think something we wanted to do with the character is make her feel simultaneously like a pop star of our time, but also like she existed in her own plane, in a way,” the actress concluded.
While Spears’ might not be directly involved in the production, the singer was previously in talks to appear on the show, though it’s unclear if she will show up at this time. The Weeknd has mentioned his love for the star in the past, so perhaps we can expect some sort of collaboration there…unless Abel Tesfaye kills him first.
The Idol premieres on June 4th on HBO and will be available to stream on Max.