June 05, 2023


Sam Levinson reveals The Idol is inspired by real-life celebrities

The first episode of the highly controversial show The Idol aired on HBO over the weekend

By Ellen James June 05, 2023
Sam Levinson reveals The Idol is inspired from real-life celebrities
Sam Levinson reveals The Idol is inspired from real-life celebrities

The Idol is an unfiltered reflection of the life of a celebrity.

The first episode of the controversial series aired Sunday on HBO and was followed by a segment about creating the show attended by director Sam Levinson, and lead stars Lily-Rose Depp and Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye.

Levinson reflected on the first shot of the episode which focused on Depp’s character Jocelyn, an up-and-coming pop star, doing a photoshoot for her new album cover.

"The first shot of the show, I think, tells you everything you need to know about Jocelyn, how gifted she is as a performer," he said. "What’s so brilliant about Lily’s performance is that despite the fact she tells you that up front, you forget how she’s able to deceive the audience."

Jocelyn meets Abel’s character Tedros, a self-help guru, at a nightclub, and is instantly taken by the mystery surrounding him.

"Jocelyn is a pop star who is constantly surrounded by people that she’s not sure if she can trust," Lily-Rose Depp chimed in. "Tedros offers her a freedom she hasn’t felt in a while."

Fundamentally, Levinson explained that the series is about "an artist who feels stuck, who also feels pressured by the expectations of the world at large, and is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants to say."

"The cinematic approach is actually derivative of reality television, because that’s how we normally see celebrities," he shared. "Part of what this show is about is having a little bit more skepticism about celebrities who we ultimately idolize."