After the explosive success of Sam Levinson’s TV series Euphoria, millennials and gen Zers alike waited with bated breath for the controversial filmmaker’s next project. We collectively gathered online, eyelashes appropriately glittered, and dared him to produce an even more addictive world in which to immerse ourselves in. Then, at the end of 2021, he delivered and presented us with The Idol, an upcoming show that would encapsulate everything netizens adore: self-help gurus, modern day cults, sex, tragedy and pop idols.
Oh, and to make things even spicier, Levinson—alongside co-producer Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd)—anointed none other than internet icon and ultimate nepotism baby Lily-Rose Depp as their leading protagonist. After having established herself both in the mainstream media and online as everyone’s resident ‘it girl’, Depp has now spilled the beans on her upcoming TV debut and how it’s allowed her to be fearless in ways she’s never experienced before.
You only have to watch the first five seconds of the show’s teaser trailer to grasp the angle of The Idol. It’s everything synonymous with Los Angeles—sex, drugs, fame, money, and exploitation. Depp’s character Joselyn is depicted as a highly sexualised popstar willing to do whatever it takes to secure global success.
Then there’s the intense intimate relationship seen on screen between Depp’s character and cult leader Tedros—played by The Weeknd—which is sure to garner some extensive online debate. Either way, the maddening hype created online has kept this upcoming series on everyone’s minds.
In a recent interview with ELLE, Depp delved into the filming process and how both Levinson and the Canadian singer created a safe on-set environment which harboured creative expression and experimentation. “I think it’s difficult to do this kind of work that can be so vulnerable in so many different ways if you don’t have a lot of trust between you and your collaborators.”
The actress continued: “I’m not interested in making anything puritanical. I’m not interested in making anything that doesn’t challenge me, or challenge other people, honestly, I think this show is fearless, and that’s something that I’ve been really excited and proud to dive into.”
During the interview, Depp—who’s the daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis—also touched upon a conversation that’s been dominating social media. Yep, you guessed it, the nepotism baby debate. In the young actress’ opinion, “people are going to have preconceived ideas about you or how you got there, and I can definitely say that nothing is going to get you the part except for being right for the part. Maybe you get your foot in the door, but you still just have your foot in the door. There’s a lot of work that comes after that.”
Now, while this statement is not wholly accurate of the landscape we’ve witnessed when it comes to nepo babies being given potentially unearned opportunities, it was Depp’s next comment that really sent the internet into hyper-spiral mode. “It’s weird to me to reduce somebody to the idea that they’re only there because it’s a generational thing. It just doesn’t make any sense. If somebody’s mom or dad is a doctor, and then the kid becomes a doctor, you’re not going to be like, ‘Well, you’re only a doctor because your parent is a doctor.’ It’s like, ‘No, I went to medical school and trained.’”
Understandably, people went wild. Naturally, Reddit was one of the first platforms to get involved, with one user writing: “Right like I genuinely don’t understand. Do they think when they say this stuff it’s going to hit and we’re all going to change our minds? Does she not have people on her team telling her not to say this? She’d get so much praise if she just owned it and now she’s just embarrassed herself… I guess they’re all really just that delusional and believe they made it themselves.”
Another chimed in, “It’s giving Kendall Jenner: If I was not famous I would be a gold medal athlete.”
Interestingly, popular Italian model Vittoria Ceretti also joined the conversation. Sharing with her followers her thoughts on her Instagram Story, the 24-year-old runway model stated: “I would really love to see if you would have lasted through the first five years of my career. Not only being rejected, because I know you have an experience with it and you can tell me your sad little story about it.”
“But how about not being able to pay for your flight back home to your family? Waiting hours to do a fitting/casting just to see a nepo baby walk past you, from the warm seat of her/his Mercedes with her/his driver and her/his friend/assistant/agent taking care of her/his mental health? You have no f*cking idea how much you have to fight to make people respect you. You just get it for free on day one,” Ceretti concluded.
While nepotism babies shouldn’t be completely written off, there’s definitely a mutual feeling among netizens that taking some responsibility and acknowledging your privilege can go a long way among us mere mortals.