Is that Britney in the new trailer for The Idol?

Written by on 07/10/2022

Earlier this year a coterie of stars gathered in Los Angeles to shoot an A24 limited series that promised to be the talk of 2022. It’s called The Idol, and was the brainchild of Sam Levinson, Reza Fahim and The Weeknd, who’s involved in just about every part of the process as its co-creator, co-writer, executive producer and lead actor. 

Now, after a few delays, The Idol is finally on its way, and we’ve been given a deeper look at Lily-Rose Depp, The Weeknd, Troye Sivan and queen Rachel Sennott in the new trailer, the show’s most obscene yet. In it, Lily-Rose Depp’s dangerous lead character, rehearsing for a pop show, foreshadows her televised performance by saying she’s going to “look into the camera and fuck everyone in America”. It also seemingly teases the long-rumoured Britney Spears involvement if you listen close enough at the 16 second mark.

The last time Sam Levinson linked up with a musician, said musician was Drake and the result was Euphoria. So with a potential new hit on their hands, here’s everything we know about A24’s The Idol.

What’s the plot of The Idol?

When first announced, the show was about a young female popstar who falls into a relationship with an unruly, enigmatic owner of an LA nightclub… who also happens to be the covert leader of a secret cult (hate when that happens). The plotline was then mixed up a bit, with the club owner character becoming a self-help guru and cult leader instead. The show was then said to focus on him specifically, exploring his relationship with the female pop star but it seems The Weeknd wasn’t happy with the show’s direction, feeling it should be even more from his perspective. It’s not clear how the new revisions will effect the narrative of the show.

What is changing under the rewritten script?

The Idol’s creative team continues to build, refine and evolve their vision for the show and they have aligned on a new creative direction,” an HBO spokesperson told Deadline. “The production will be adjusting its cast and crew accordingly to best serve this new approach to the series.” Since then, Deadline have shared more details surrounding what exactly would be changing in the show that had reportedly already filmed four or five episodes. Updates, it seems, include not just a shift in the perspective of the show, but they’ve also cut one of the stars and the director completely. Sounds messy!

Who’s in the show’s cast?

We know that The Idol will still be led by Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, who assumed the lead role of the self-help-guru-slash-cult leader. The show’s popstar character is played by Lily Rose-Depp, making her television debut after seven years in film. 

We also know that pop star Troye Sivan — now segueing back into acting with this and coming-of-age HIV drama Three Months is still in the show along with Rachel Sennott, who received acclaim for her unhinged comedy Shiva Baby last year and the A24 slasher Bodies, Bodies, Bodies. Suzanna Son, who appeared in Sean Baker’s Red Rocket, has reappeared in the cast after apparently being cut. Hari Nef, Schitt’s Creek’s Dan Levy and horror director Eli Roth have also been added to the cast list.

Troye is not the only musician in the mix: both BLACKPINK’s Jennie and Moses Sumney are listed as main characters in the show. Tyson Ritter, the once-frontman of The All American Rejects, was cast in a recurring role too, alongside Kanye West’s super producer Mike Dean.

Melanie Liburd, star of This is Us, is apparently also set to have a recurring role, alongside Teen Wolf’s Maya Eshet, and the Skate Kitchen and Booksmart star Nico Hiraga.

Is Britney Spears in The Idol?

Long story short, it’s not entirely clear. Back in November, the same day The Idol was announced, Britney jumped on Instagram and revealed that, since her conservatorship had ended, she’d shot a movie called The Idol. Of course, The Weeknd’s project is a show rather than a movie, but the serendipitous announcement, especially considering the show’s plot, had people thinking Britney, who starred in the 00s movie Crossroads, would be making a return to acting. The rumour was apparently debunked by Britney’s team, who, according to TMZ, claimed she had no plans to return to acting. Maybe her version of The Idol was a homemade project instead?

But then, after it was decided the show would go through a major rewrite and reshoot in the coming months, Britney was filmed hanging out with The Weeknd and Sam Levinson. Does this mean Britney will now in fact be in the show? We’ll have to wait for an official announcement, but it would be very iconic to see the star back on our screens. In fact, if you listen at the 14-second mark in the show’s third trailer, you’ll hear a distinctly Britney moan. Is that a subtle sign of foreshadowing?

Is there a trailer, first-look images or BTS photos?

Yes! We had our first glimpse of the show — and confirmation of Rachel Sennott’s casting and Troye’s return — from a post shared by The Idol Updates Twitter account of the pair and Lily Rose Depp filming scenes in a red convertible.

There’s also been two additional trailers, which you can see below:

And who’s behind the camera?

Much like The Weeknd’s involvement here, there was a multi-hyphenate team behind the camera too during The Idol’s initial production. His close confidant Reza Fahim took on several roles, as co-creator, co-writer and executive producer. He’s an LA nightlife entrepreneur turned writer, which might suggest that the show could be loosely based on some of his own experience in that world.

The show’s six episodes were all set to be directed by Amy Seimetz, who’s acted in indie films like Upstream Colour and Lean on Pete, and major TV shows like Stranger Things and The Girlfriend Experience. She’s worked behind the camera too, directing several episodes of the latter TV show and Atlanta. However, during the restructure, Amy left and the show went through extensive reshoots. Sam Levinson is now listed as the director of all episodes.

As well as A24, Bron Studios are part of the show’s creation, and so the series shares executive producers with movies like Licorice Pizza, Joker and House of Gucci.

The show’s cinematographer has been announced as Arseni Khachaturan, who last worked on Luca Guadagnino’s Bones & All. Kirsten Coleman, who worked alongside Donni Davy on Euphoria’s beauty, is heading up the make-up department. Euphoria’s Intimacy Coordinator Mam Smith is on board too.

How many episodes will there be?

The show is set to be six-episode-long miniseries. Think We Are Who We Are, The White Lotus and Normal People.

What’s the release date for The Idol?

It was originally planned for The Idol to hit HBO and HBO Max later in 2022, but production delays have pushed it back to 2023.

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