Per an on-set source who spoke to Page Six, The Idol showrunner and director Sam Levinson “ordered” The Weeknd to film a scene in which his character rapes the character played by Lily Rose-Depp. According to the source, Levinson made a surprise mid-scene adjustment during the shooting of a sex scene for the show’s fourth episode. Levinson reportedly “explicitly directed” The Weeknd to have Tedros “strangle” Jocelyn before ejaculating inside her. Furthermore, these non-consensual elements of the scene were not in the original script. However, the scene was reportedly cut from the episode entirely.
Levinson was “by the monitor, laughing and feeding lines to Abel’s character, like, ‘I own you,’” the source alleges. While The Weeknd and Rose-Depp did the scene as instructed, many of the production staff present found it “extremely disturbing.” Additionally, the show’s intimacy director, Mam Smith, declined to comment on the scene when approached by Page Six. The revelation is in spite of the source also claiming that Levinson “does not take issues of consent lightly” and “was committed to creating a safe, collaborative, and mutually respectful working environment on set.”
Surprise Rape Scene Latest “The Idol” Horror Story
Sam Levinson, Lily-Rose Depp and Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye le 23 mai 2023 à Cannes. (Photo by Laurent KOFFEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
However, this is just the latest story from the set of The Idol, whose production is almost as infamous as the finished product. “It was, let’s just say, a shitshow,” one producer told Rolling Stone in a scathing investigation into the show’s creation. On the surface, it appeared that the show, looking to bank off the infamy and name recognition of Levinson, was rushed into production to fill the Sunday night HBO slot vacated by House of the Dragon. That led to shooting delays, multiple reshoots, and even massive script rewrites.
But the problems only go deeper. Original series director Amy Seimetz reportedly left 80% of the way through production. She claimed she felt forced out, with The Weeknd allegedly claiming that the show, for which he serves as co-creator, was leaning into too much of a “female perspective” with Seimetz at the helm. That led to Levinson taking over, scrapping everything Seimetz had done, and starting from scratch. Additionally, The Weeknd has been described as “egomaniacal” by on-set sources. All of this culminated in a show that has been panned by audiences and critics. The Idol will air its final episode on July 2. Furthermore, HBO is yet to officially cancel the show or greenlight a second season.