The Idol: Sky Atlantic release date, trailer, and cast with Lily-Rose Depp and Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye

The Idol, a new drama from Euphoria's Sam Levinson and starring Lily-Rose Depp and The Weeknd, is coming to Sky Atlantic in the UK this June

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The Idol, a new drama from Euphoria creator Sam Levinson and musician Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye, is coming to Sky Atlantic on Monday 5 June.

The series – which stars Tesfaye as a mysterious cult leader manipulating a young pop star played by Lily-Rose Depp – has already proven controversial, with reports of a troubled production ahead of intensely negative reviews when the series debuted at Cannes Film Festival earlier this month. 

Here’s everything you need to know about The Idol ahead of its release this weekend.

What is it about?

The official synopsis for The Idol explains that “after a nervous breakdown derailed Jocelyn’s last tour, she’s determined to claim her rightful status as the greatest and sexiest pop star in America. Her passions are reignited by Tedros, a nightclub impresario with a sordid past. Will her romantic awakening take her to glorious new heights or the deepest and darkest depths of her soul?”

So far, the series has been met with particularly poor reviews, and been subject to intense criticism for both its graphic sexual content and the perceived superficiality of how it handles its themes. 

Who stars in The Idol?

Abel Tesfaye as Tedros and Lily-Rose Depp as Jocelyn in The Idol, their arms around one another (Credit: HBO)Abel Tesfaye as Tedros and Lily-Rose Depp as Jocelyn in The Idol, their arms around one another (Credit: HBO)
Abel Tesfaye as Tedros and Lily-Rose Depp as Jocelyn in The Idol, their arms around one another (Credit: HBO)

Lily-Rose Depp plays Jocelyn, a pop star recovering from a recent nervous breakdown and determined to re-establish her celebrity. Depp is perhaps best known for a series of Kevin Smith comedies Tusk and Yoga Hosers – with a third, titled Moose Jaw, in development – but you might also recognise her from Voyagers or Silent Night. She can next be seen in Robert Eggers’ Nosferatu adaptation. 

Abel Tesfaye – better known under his stage name The Weeknd – plays the mysterious Tedros, a self-help guru who acts essentially as a cult leader. The Idol – which Tesfaye is also credited with creating – is his first major acting role, though you might recognise him from a supporting role in Uncut Gems. As a musician, some of Tesfaye’s biggest hits include Blinding Lights and Can’t Feel My Face.

They’re joined by a number of famous faces, including Troye Sivan (Boy Erased) as Jocelyn's creative director Xander, Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek) as Jocelyn’s publicist, Rachel Sennott (Shiva Baby) as Jocelyn’s best friend Leia, and Hank Azaria (Hello Tomorrow!) as Jocelyn’s manager Chaim. The series also includes a number of musicians making their acting debut, such as Jennie Kim of Blackpink and Moses Sumney. 

Who writes and directs The Idol?

The Idol was created by Tesfaye, alongside writer and former nightclub owner Reza Fahim and Euphoria’s Sam Levinson. The series marks both Tesfaye and Fahim’s first major television credit, but you’ll know Levinson (son of Rain Man and Good Morning Vietnam director Barry Levinson) from films like Assassination Nation and Malcolm & Marie. 

Early in its development, The Idol was set to be directed and executive produced by Amy Seimetz (The Girlfriend Experience, She Dies Tomorrow). In April 2022, with the majority of filming already completed, Seimetz left the series amidst creative differences – it’s since been reported by IndieWire and Rolling Stone that Tesfaye felt Seimetz was “leaning too much into a female perspective” – and Levinson took over as director for extensive reshoots. 

Is there a trailer for The Idol?

Yes, there is! You can watch it right here.

When and how can I watch The Idol?

In the UK, you’ll be able to watch The Idol on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV. The first episode will air on Monday 5 June at 2am, with a subsequent repeat at 9pm; new episodes will air weekly through to Monday 9 July.

In the US, you can watch The Idol on the new Max: The One to Watch for HBO streaming service. The first episode will air on Sunday 4 June at 9pm (i.e. simulcast with the Sky Atlantic UK release). 

How many episodes are there?

The Idol is a five-part drama, with each episode running to around an hour long.

Where was it filmed?

The Idol was filmed predominantly in and around Los Angeles, California. Additional scenes – representing moments in the show where Jocelyn is performing to her fans – were filmed at the SoFi Stadium during the Weeknd’s own tour of California also. 

Why might I like The Idol? 

It’s one to watch if you’re a fan of Euphoria, as this series seems set to take Levinson’s trademark style and turn it up to – or even really past – 11.