The Weeknd‘s new HBO show is getting dragged after a report suggested the production is in shambles — but sources tell TMZ things are actually quite the opposite, and Abel’s actually quite pleased.
Production sources for “The Idol” — which has been a work in progress for nearly 2 years now — tell TMZ that the Rolling Stonestory that came out Wednesday about “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson‘s involvement is not a fair representation of how the lead star of the series feels … which we’re told is optimistic and grateful.
Our sources tell us that nobody who talked to RS — upwards of 13 sources, they claim — has seen the final product … despite reports of reshoots involving oversexualized and/or “torture porn” scenes featuring Lily-Rose Depp and Abel, among other cast members.
In other words, we’re told to suggest these scenes are going to make it in the final cut is misleading.
Fact is … we’re told Levinson was brought on to replace OG director Amy Seimetz for a reason — and that he has crafted an adult story with mature elements … what Abel and show creators had envisioned from the beginning.
Our sources say The Weeknd and others felt the show was not in a good place before SL came aboard to “right the ship” — which we’re told a majority of the cast/crew feel he did with success, despite how edgy some of the material they may have shot has been thus far.
As RS notes in their piece, Levinson completely redid Amy’s work … bringing on new actors — like Dan Levy, Hank Azaria and Jennie from BLACKPINK — spliced in a new script with a new angle and employed a more robust shooting schedule too … which our sources insist have elevated the art and which will make for a better product when it finally hits the service.
There’s also a major misconception, we’re told, about an alleged notion that Weeknd felt the OG version of “The Idol” was too focused on a female perspective … which is something that was floated in Rolling Stone. We’re told he doesn’t feel that way at all — if anything, the whole show is about a woman who wants to control her own narrative in showbiz.
Another thing … our sources say the claim that the budget hit close to $80 million is “nowhere near” accurate. In other words, the reshoots weren’t that expensive.
As for Lily-Rose, she says … “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.” That backs The Weeknd’s view.
HBO themselves have weighed in too, confirming the original direction “The Idol” was going in wasn’t up to their standards, and that they’re happy with where Levinson’s taken it so far.
Despite any suggestions of a twisted, degenerate workplace — as described by RS — they add … “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.”