In a sign that HBO may release The Idol someday, Variety reports that The Weeknd’s much gossiped-about, beyond-cursed vanity project will premiere out of competition at the Cannes film festival in May.
The Idol’s positioning lends a significant bump to the show’s reputation. Only a handful of series have ever premiered at the festival, and they’re typically from established auteurs. The third season of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, Jane Campion’s Top Of The Lake: China Doll, and Olivier Assayas’ Irma Vep series all premiered out of competition at the festival. Another Assayas project, Carlos, also premiered out of competition at Cannes. IndieWire notes that the first two or three episodes of the six-episode season will screen.
Additionally, the announcement comes as a surprise due to the show’s frequent delays and reports of a, let’s say, unprofessional production. Over the past few weeks, reports from Rolling Stone revealed that the show underwent a total rewrite to make it more sexist, particularly after original director Amy Seimetz abruptly left the project. Rolling Stone reported that Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye felt the show leaned too much into the “female perspective,” unacceptable for a show about a weird Hollywood sex cult guy that lures in young, aspiring female stars. Who would want to hear about the victims when we could listen to Tesfaye’s character tell Dan Levy that Rolling Stone is irrelevant?
The festival’s inclusion of more television is an about-face from previous years. In 2015, Cannes festival director Thierry Fremaux told The Hollywood Reporter that they would “never” add a section or program about television.
“Cannes shows only 60 movies and among them only 20 in competition,” Fremaux said. “We can’t, and we don’t want to add any TV series, which are great, but it’s another subject matter.”
“It’s the task of television. We take care of cinema, which needs us!”
Sam Levinson and The Weeknd needed them too.