The Weeknd‘s visuals and music videos have always been somewhat of a cinematic experience, especially during his conceptual After Hours era. Now, he’s taking his on-screen storytelling to the next level.
The musician, born Abel Tesfaye, is developing, co-writing, and starring in The Idol, a series for HBO. Created with Euphoria helmer Sam Levinson and Tesfaye’s creative producer, Reza Fahim, the drama will follow a female pop singer who “starts a romance with an enigmatic L.A. club owner who is the leader of a secret cult,” according to the log line. Consider us intrigued.
So far, Tesfaye is the only person in the cast, but we have a better idea of who’s working behind the scenes.
Joseph Epstein is the showrunner, and also a producer and writer on the series. Executive producers include Ashley Levinson (Malcolm & Marie, Bombshell), Kevin Turen (Those Who Wish Me Dead), Aaron L. Gilbert (Joker) and Reza Fahim (The Weeknd’s producing partner and co-creator of the series). Co-executive producers are Wassim “SAL” Slaiby, La Mar C. Taylor (Tesfaye’s creative director and XO Records cofounder), and Mary Laws (Succession), who’s also writing.
Tesfaye isn’t exactly a stranger to the big screen. He’s appeared in the Safdie brothers’ Uncut Gems in 2019 as a 2012 version of himself. As for TV, he also wrote and guest-starred in an episode of American Dad in 2020.
The Idol news arrives after a big year for Tesfaye, who headlined at the 2021 Super Bowl Halftime Show, broke records on the Billboard charts, and famously called out the Grammy Awards for “corruption” after he and other artists were snubbed from the latest ceremony. This March, he announced he will no longer submit his music for Grammys consideration. With his new show in the works, might he be gunning for an Emmy instead?
This article first appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US