[Daniel Craig voice]: Ladies and gentleman….the Weeknd.
That’s right, award-winning R&B artist the Weeknd is coming to HBO with Euphoria creator Sam Levinson.
Currently in development, their new HBO series titled The Idol is set to follow a female pop singer who starts a romance with an enigmatic L.A. club owner, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The twist? He also happens to be the leader of a secret cult. While it’s currently unclear what role the Weeknd will play, fingers crossed he gets to lead an underground cult while schmoozing stars at a bougie L.A. club.
As of now, the Weeknd is the only cast member announced but details have been revealed about the crew behind the scenes. The Grammy-award winning performer is credited as a co-creator and co-writer alongside Sam Levinson and Reza Fahim, who will also executive produce the series. Fahim, a former night-life entrepreneur-turned-writer is also a longtime producing partner of the Weeknd. This will be their first collaborative project with Levinson.
Creator of the critically acclaimed series Euphoria (featuring an Emmy-winning performance from Zendaya), Levinson most recently released the Netflix film Malcolm and Marie to… mixed responses. While the second season of Euphoria is on the way, with two one-hour specials having dropped in December and January, Levinson also took the time to co-write the upcoming Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas erotic thriller, Deep Water.
Joseph Epstein will serve as co-writer and showrunner on The Idol, along with Ashley Levinson, Kevin Turen, and Aaron L. Gilbert. Co-writer of the 2016 film The Neon Demon and the critically acclaimed HBO drama Succession, Mary Laws will write and join fellow co-executive producers include Wassim “SAL” Slaiby and La Mar C. Taylor.
The Weeknd: A Documented Cinephile
This will not be the Weeknd’s first crack at writing for television: back in 2020, he starred in and co-wrote “A Starboy Is Born” an episode of the adult animated series American Dad. Months later, he voiced three characters on the special 200th episode of Robot Chicken. On the big screen, the Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) had a memorable cameo in the Safdie Brothers 2019 film Uncut Gems, where he played himself.
To review, The Weeknd has been circling film and television for some time now. His songs and music videos famously include a myriad of film references, including Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. He has previously cited David Cronenberg, Stanley Kubrick, and Martin Scorsese as inspirations for his brand and aesthetic. In a 2016 interview, he said “before I ever thought of making music, I wanted to make films.” Many of the Weeknd’s music videos and performances have been cinematic experiences, so it will be interesting to see the role of these influences in The Idol —especially in collaboration with voices like Levinsons.
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