There’s a lot of chatter surrounding The Idol right now, but there’s one thing that the show’s creator, Sam Levinson, is keen to clear up once and for all.
In case you need a reminder, The Idol is an upcoming HBO series, which will serve as Sam’s followup to his hugely successful show, Euphoria.
From what we know, The Idol stars Lily-Rose Depp as a troubled pop star named Jocelyn, who, after suffering a nervous breakdown, sets out on a quest to become “the biggest touring act ever.”
In pursuit of an explosive comeback, Jocelyn enters into a toxic relationship with a sleazy self-help guru and cult-leader named Tedros — played by Abel Tesfaye (aka, The Weeknd) — and her world begins to crumble as she becomes “brainwashed” by him.
Ever since the show was first announced in June 2021, fans have speculated as to whether the story might have taken inspiration from Britney Spears, whose conservatorship was obviously a major point of discussion over the past few years.
And now, as the show’s premiere date edges closer, more comparisons have been drawn between the depiction of Lily-Rose’s Jocelyn, and the real life Pop Princess herself.
What’s interesting to note is that Britney’s links to the show don’t end with its pointed commentary on how the industry treats young pop stars. In fact, Britney has made reference to The Idol on several occasions, which has only bolstered speculation that she might be involved in some way.
It’s unclear whether Britney was actually referring to the HBO series. However, it is known that The Idol started shooting in LA around this time, before production was eventually put on pause the following April.
In March 2022, Britney showed love for Sam in a long Instagram caption, saying she’d just started watching Euphoria and that she thought it was “amazing.”
Two months later, it seemed Britney got the chance to bond with Sam in person, sharing a video of herself hanging out with the Euphoria director, as well as Abel Tesfaye, who is also credited as one of the creators of The Idol.
At the time, Britney’s husband, Sam Asghari, teased in the comments section that she might be a “new Euphoria character,” while Abel showed his love by commenting a red heart emoji.
As speculation mounted about what the meetup could mean, it was revealed that it was Britney’s assistant, Victoria “Vicky T” Asher, who planned for Britney to spend time with The Idol’s creators.
“So so glad I could make this beautiful moment happen,” Victoria wrote on her Instagram story at the time, noting that she and Sam are longtime friends. “This was very special to me. Bringing legends I love together.”
On top of all this, the minds behind the show have also played into the speculation by making a direct reference to Britney in the most recent teaser trailer, which includes a remixed version of her hit 2007 song, “Gimme More.”
Of course, the pointed soundtrack choice certainly didn’t go unnoticed by fans who speculated in the comments section on YouTube that “the story is very reminiscent to Britney’s origin.”
So, when the first two episodes of The Idol premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday, it was inevitable that Sam and Abel would face questioning over Britney’s involvement and how she might have inspired the tale.
During a press conference on Tuesday, one journalist noted the “haunting” accuracy with which Jocelyn’s exploitation by the “industry machine” is portrayed, prompting them to ask how much of the character is inspired by Britney.
In response, Sam began by saying that, as a “kid of the 90s,” he grew up watching Britney’s career, describing her as “one of the greatest pop stars of all time.”
Despite this, he was keen to emphasize that the script isn’t intended to be a retelling of her experience, saying: “We’re not trying to tell a story about any particular pop star.”
Instead, he explained that The Idol hopes to speak to wider issues in Hollywood, mainly focusing on the way young stars can be corrupted and exploited by the industry.
“We’re looking more at how the world perceives pop stars and the pressure it puts on that individual,” he said. “It’s a lot of pressure — to have to constantly be on, and to be what everyone wishes you to be. It’s a lonely life.”
He added: “We can all pretend that everyone is looking out for someone’s best interest, but I think fame really corrupts; it’s really easy to surround yourself with myth-makers who continue to prop us up.”
While the script may not be inspired by Britney alone, it has been reported that the pop icon gets a mention in the first episode. But, we’ll have to wait until it premieres on June 4 to find out more.