Lily-Rose Depp, The Weeknd on portraying American pop culture ‘pornification’ in sexually explicit ‘The Idol’

Lily-Rose Depp, The Weeknd on portraying American pop culture ‘pornification’ in sexually explicit ‘The Idol’

Lily-Rose Depp and The Weeknd explored the dark side of stardom at the Cannes press conference for HBO’s controversial sexy pop star drama series The idolafter the world premiere of the first two episodes of the limited series at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday evening.

Depp stars in The idol as Jocelyn, a Britney Spears-style rag-to-riches pop star in crisis after the death of her mother. To make matters worse, a former lover posted an explicit photo of her online, further damaging her reputation. In her vulnerable state, she is seduced by Tedros, a charismatic leader of an NXIVM-like cult, played by Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye in his television debut.

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Tesfaye, who co-created The idol with Euphoria Creator Levinson and Reza Fahim, were joined by Depp, Levinson and several of the series’ co-stars, including Hank Azaria and Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who play co-managers Jocelyn Chaim (Azaria) and Destiny (Randolph ), respectively, and Jane Adams, who gives a series-stealing performance as sharp-tongued label executive Nikki.

The dark satire of the drama/entertainment industry has been controversial both for its on-screen depictions of sex and debauchery – albeit tamed by Cannes standards – and for reports of behind-the-scenes turmoil in the making of the show.

The series lands in Cannes after an explosion rolling stone The feature on the six-episode limited series included cast and crew members saying the production was plagued with last-minute revisions and a chaotic work environment. The story also said that after original director Amy Seimetz was replaced by Levinson, the drama’s perspective shifted from a satire skewering the misogynistic and predatory nature of the music industry to something closer to a toxic man’s fantasy. Both Depp and Tesfaye have denied allegations of on-set unrest.

“It’s always kind of sad and disheartening to see these mean, untrue things about someone you really care about who you know isn’t like that,” Depp said at Cannes.

“We know we’re doing a show that’s provocative. It’s not lost on us, but it’s weird,” Levinson added, referring to reports of on-set commotion. “Because when my wife read the article to me. I said to him, ‘I think we’re going to have the biggest show of the summer. As for the details of what was inside. it seemed completely foreign to me. But I know who I am…. People can write whatever they want. If I have a slight objection, it’s that they intentionally omitted anything that didn’t fit their narrative. But I think we’ve seen a lot of that lately.

Azaria also defended Levinson, saying reports of “chaos on set” were a misunderstanding of the director’s spontaneous and creative approach.

“It would be like going to the set of Calm your enthusiasm or a Judd Apatow movie, where people improvise brilliantly and say, “Oh, they must not know their lines. I’ve been on many dysfunctional sets; it was the exact opposite. I felt challenged for the first time in many, many years.

“I agree 100%,” Adams said. “I feel that very strongly. It’s been one of the best creative experiences I’ve ever had. She noted that she got ‘very upset’ with discussions around the show’s ‘chaos.’ can’t we just create, can’t we have freedom of thought, can’t things be messy?”

“I originally wanted to do a dark, twisted fairy tale about the music industry and step it up,” Tesfaye said. “[Sam and I] I really wanted to see if we could create our own pop star, using my experiences, using her experiences, using Lily’s experiences from her point of view, to create something special, bold, exciting, fun, make some people laugh and piss people off.

Tesfaye said he had never met anyone like Tetros in the music industry. “It’s Dracula,” he said.

“It’s about how the world perceives a pop star and the pressure it puts on that individual. It’s a lot of pressure to be constantly and to be whatever everyone wants you to be” , said Levinson. “And I also think it’s a lonely life. We can all pretend that everyone is looking out for someone’s best interests, but I think fame really corrupts. I think it’s very easy to surround yourself with myth makers, and I think there’s something very scary about that.

Depp reflected on how life reflected in the show’s art, drawing parallels between Jocelyn’s struggles and her own perspective as a celebrity in the spotlight and the daughter of superstar actor Johnny Depp and the French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis.

“I think it’s just about the people you surround yourself with,” she said, “it’s something that we see my character actively doing on the show, grappling with the people she keeps around her and wondering if they’re telling her the truth [it’s] everything to surround yourself with good people.

Reflecting on the film’s explicit sex scenes, Levinson noted that “we live in a very sexualized world” and said the series reflected the “pornification” of American pop culture.

“Especially in the United States, the influence of pornography is very strong on the psyche of young people in the United States. And we see that in pop music and how it mirrors the internet belly genre in some ways,” Levinson said “I think with this show and working with Lily, we’ve had a lot of discussions about who she is as a person, who Jocelyn is as a person [and] from this moment, sexuality comes out of this character…. I think it’s very true to what almost all pop stars are doing these days.

Speaking about the process of filming these explicit scenes on set, Depp said that she “never felt more involved in these kinds of conversations, and I felt I had been given the privilege of creating this character, inside and out”. In.”

Azaria joked that he was constantly protecting Depp on set. “I was always trying to put blankets over her, asking her, ‘Are you cold? was to “just stop for a while”.

Randolph defended the series as being very “woman forward”.

The six-part series, which will be released on HBO and the company’s Max streaming service on June 4, received a mixed reception at its world premiere in Cannes on Monday evening, with decidedly mixed reviews and a generally gala audience. enthusiastic in Cannes surprisingly quiet. But series director and co-creator Levinson, obviously moved by the experience, began to choke on his acceptance speech after the screening.

“It’s the biggest dream come true, I think we were all overwhelmed and moved by the response,” he said, noting that he first heard about the French film festival at the age of 10 years. “I didn’t know much about world cinema but I knew pulp Fiction, [and] that he won an award for this crazy movie that I was not allowed to see. [Through that] I discovered the Cannes Film Festival, I discovered French cinema and world cinema and I dreamed of coming here. And last night was one of the most moving and moving experiences I have ever had.

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