The Weeknd will star in the six-episode series, which was first announced as being in development in June, as well as serving as the co-creator. Set against the backdrop of the music industry, the series centers on a self-help guru and leader of a modern-day cult, who develops a complicated relationship with an up-and-coming pop idol.
Along with The Weeknd it was previously announced that Lily-Rose Depp would star in the series. Amy Seimetz is also now onboard to direct all six episodes. Variety has also learned that eight more actors have been added to the cast.
Suzanna Son (“Red Rocket”), Melanie Liburd (“Power Book II: Ghost,” “This Is Us”), Tunde Adebimpe (“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Lazor Wulf”), Steve Zissis (“Togetherness,” “Jeff Who Lives at Home”), Troye Sivan (“Spud,” “Boy Erased”), Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (“Showgirls,” “Saved by the Bell”), Nico Hiraga (“Booksmart,” “Moxie”), and Anne Heche (“Return to Paradise,” “Six Days Seven Nights”) have all been cast in the series. Son, Zissis, and Sivan will all appear in series regular roles while the other five are recurring.
The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, will server as co-writer and executive producer along with Reza Fahim and Sam Levinson, with all three credited as creators of the show. Joe Epstein will also write and executive produce in addition to serving as showrunner. Seimetz will executive produce as well as direct. Levinson will executive produce via Little Lamb along with Ashley Levinson and Kevin Turen. Aaron L. GIibert will executive produce via Bron Studios. Nick Hall and Sara E. White will executive produce along with A24.
“When the multi-talented Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye, Reza Fahim and Sam Levinson brought us ‘The Idol,’ it was clear their subversive, revelatory take on the cult of the music industry was unlike anything HBO had ever done before,” said Francesca Orsi, executive vice president of HBO Programming. “Shortly after, the brilliant duo of Joe Epstein and Amy Seimetz joined forces with the rest of the team, and this dream became a reality.”
The Weeknd and Reza Fahim were represented by Kenny Meiselas and Peter Grant of Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks. Son is repped by Grandview and Jackoway Austen Tyerman. Liburd is repped by Identity Agency Group, UTA, R&CPMK and Felker Toczek. Adebimpe is represented by WME, MGMT Entertainment, and Hertz Lichtenstein Young & Polk LLP. Zissis is repped by Artists First, A3 Artists Agency and Ziffren Brittenham. Sivan is repped by CAA and Full Stop Management. Berkley Lauren is repped by Untitled Entertainment and Sloane Offer. Hiraga is repped by Wonder Street, WME, and Myman Greenspan. Heche is repped by Zero Gravity Management and APA. Seimetz is repped by CAA, Fusion Entertainment and Ziffren Brittenham.
(Pictured, from left to right: The Weeknd, Troye Sivan, Anne Heche)