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'Euphoria' Creator 'Sam Levinson' Is Not OK

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 1, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | March 1, 2023 |


Warning: This post discusses sexual violence

Rolling Stone is out today with a big behind-the-scenes account of The Idol’s troubled production. Recall that The Idol comes from Sam Levinson and Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, and that Amy Seimetz was supposed to direct the series. Seimetz was pushed out, however, after Tesfaye reportedly objected that the series’ “female perspective” centered too much on Lily-Rose Depp’s character instead of his own.

According to RS, that’s not entirely true. Seimetz was unfortunately dealt a terrible hand (late, half-written scripts, a limited schedule, and a messy, hectic production) and it was Sam Levinson who didn’t care for the end product and decided to rewrite and reshoot the entire series, which had nearly been completed. It didn’t matter that Levinson scrapped the $54-75 million almost finished product; HBO allowed it because they have to keep Levinson happy.

From the accounts behind the scenes, Levinson’s The Idol is not great. “It went from satire to the thing it was satirizing,” one crew member revealed. “It was a show about a woman who was finding herself sexually, turned into a show about a man who gets to abuse this woman and she loves it,” another crew member said.

Four sources say that Levinson ultimately scrapped Seimetz’s approach to the story, making it less about a troubled starlet falling victim to a predatory industry figure and fighting to reclaim her own agency, and more of a degrading love story with a hollow message that some crew members describe as being offensive.

“It was like any rape fantasy that any toxic man would have in the show — and then the woman comes back for more because it makes her music better,” one production member explains of Levinson’s version.

To wit: In one proposed scene (that ultimately was not shot) Depp was meant to “carry an egg in her vagina and if she dropped or cracked the egg, Tesfaye’s character would refuse to ‘rape’ her — which sent Depp’s character into a spiral, begging him to “rape” her because she believed he was the key to her success.” In another proposed scene, Tesfaye “bashes in Depp’s face, and her character smiles and asks to be beaten more, giving Tesfaye an erection.”

“It was like sexual torture porn,” said a source.

Based on Rolling Stone’s reporting, The Idol shoot was just as chaotic and unpleasant as Euphoria shoots have been rumored to be. Sources, however, explain that little could be done about it. ‘What’s HBO gonna do, pull the plug? Yeah, right. If they want a third season of Euphoria, they’ll [give him what he wants] …. “He’s able to walk away unscathed and everybody still wants to work with him… People ignore the red flags and follow him regardless.”

Source: Rolling Stone