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Sam Levinson Says This To Fans Comparing 'The Idol' & Britney Spears

Sam Levinson Says This To Fans Comparing 'The Idol' & Britney Spears

Britney Spears, Lily-Rose Depp
A.PAES/Shutterstock, The Weeknd/YouTube

Levinson addressed concerns related to a reference in the pilot episode.


Heard the rumor that The Idol is a shadow Britney Spears biopic? Sam Levinson, says nope! The creator is shutting down concerns that (soon to be hit HBO series) is in any way based on the "Gimme More" singer.

The upcoming HBO series premiered its first two episodes at the Cannes Film Festival recently, with viewers latching onto a reference to the singer and wondering if it was a signal that Lily-Rose Depp’s pop star character is supposed to be a stand-in of sorts for Spears.

“We’re not trying to tell a story about any particular pop star,” Levinson rebutted, clarifying that the reference was “more of a publicist [character]’s spinning, and trying to draw connections and correlations so that the press will write about” Depp’s character’s breakdown in a kind manner.

The Idol centers around Jocelyn (Depp), a pop star whose nervous breakdown threatens her image, and the relationship she enters into with a self-help guru (Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd) who is ultimately more of a cult leader.

The series has been plagued by controversy for months, largely centering around Levinson allegedly taking the show in an entirely different direction even after much of it had been filmed. An exposé in Rolling Stone earlier this year painted a picture of a troubled production that went way over budget and featured disturbing content far from the original intent for the show that left the crew unsettled, although Levinson, Tesfaye, and Depp have all pushed back against those claims.

Depp also commented on the parallels to Spears’ struggles during her heyday, agreeing with Levinson that they were “not telling anyone else’s story.”

“But I think something that we also wanted to do with the character is make her feel simultaneously like a pop star of our time, but also she existed kind of in her own plane in a way. And we talked about a lot of other influences that are not pop star,” she said.

“I think we're looking more at how the world perceives pop stars, and the pressure that it puts on that individual,” Levinson added. “It's a lot of pressure to constantly have to be on, and to have to be what everyone wishes you to be. I also think that it's a lonely life.”

When is The Idol premiering?

The Idol is scheduled to premiere on June 4.

Where can I watch The Idol?

The Idol will air on HBO and subsequently be available on Max.

What is The Idol about?

The Idol centers around a pop star and her relationship with a self-help guru/cult leader.

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