Sam Levinson’s latest HBO Max collaboration, “The Idol”, has seen numerous delays amid public criticism of both the storyline and the behind-the-scenes creative process. Despite the difficulties, the first two episodes of the show, which stars Lily Rose Depp and Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) in the titular roles, premiered at Cannes to a standing ovation.
“The Idol” cast receives standing ovation at #Cannes2023 following the premiere of the show.
— Buzzing Pop (@BuzzingPop) May 22, 2023
After 13 crew members came forward to Rolling Stone alleging poor working conditions and unforeseen creative changes, the public was quick to criticize the once much anticipated show. Levinson, who notably directed HBO’s smash hit “Euphoria” replaced writer-director Amy Seimetz (of “The Girlfriend Experience). Levinson’s take on the show skews the content towards violence, while Seimetz previously aimed to prioritize women’s narratives.
After a plot point from the script leaked on Twitter, users were quick to call it out as “torture porn.” Levinson’s heavily sexualized depictions of women in “Euphoria” previously were questioned when actress Sydney Sweeney alleged that she fought to have some of her nude scenes cut from the show. Despite the positive reaction at Cannes, the court of public opinion still has a bone to pick amid potential critical acclaim.
“The Idol,” or 50 SHADES OF TESFAYE: A Pornhub-homepage odyssey starring Lily Rose Depp’s areolas and The Weeknd’s greasy rat tail. Love that this will help launch the HBO Max rebrand, should slot nicely next to House Hunters!
— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) May 22, 2023
Many criticized HBO for the alleged lack of diversity in the writers’ room for “The Idol.” The criticism comes amid the ongoing WGA strike.
A show w/o a writer’s room correct?
— Andrew Eisenman (@AndrewJEisenman) May 23, 2023
Others fear that HBO’s quality will continue to backslide amid the WGA strike. The hugely successful “Succession” and “Barry” recently concluded.
we go from Succession and Barry to this ????
— Percy (@percehp) May 22, 2023
Some argued that the brief standing ovation was a typical Cannes courtesy.
5 minute standing ovation is the cannes equivalent of throwing tomatoes btw
— alice (@ribslyrics) May 22, 2023
Levinson delivered an emotional speech on the show’s Cannes premiere, and was met with criticism online yet again for the way that he writes female characters.
The show’s premiere comes briefly after Abel Tesfaye announced his intention to put an end to his stage persona as The Weeknd. “The Idol” will hit Max on June 4.