“Can’t Feel My Face” singer The Weeknd apparently couldn’t feel his voice after juggling between portraying a cult leader in HBO’s “The Idol” and the concert stage.
In a new interview with W Magazine, The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye) got candid about how repeatedly switching from music to acting while filming the mysterious cult drama series took a toll on his voice.
“It was tough to go from one head to another,” he said. “Then, after the concert, I lost my voice. No voice came out at all. That’s never happened before.”
Tesfaye continued: “My theory is that I forgot how to sing because I was playing Tedros, a character who doesn’t know how to sing. I may be looking too deeply into this, but it was terrifying. As The Weeknd, I’ve never skipped a concert. I’ve performed with the flu. I’ll die on that stage. But there was something very complicated going on with my mind at that moment.”
Tesfaye also talked about the hassle of having to “take off the Weeknd outfit, put on Tedros’s wig, shoot with Jocelyn [played by Depp], then go back to being The Weeknd.”
Co-created by “Euphoria’s” Sam Levinson and Tesfaye, “The Idol,” follows Tedros, a “self-help guru and leader of a modern-day cult (played by Tesfaye)” who “enters a complicated relationship with a rising pop idol,” according to the show’s synopsis. The series also stars Lily-Rose Depp, Dan Levy, Eli Roth, Rachel Sennott and Hank Azaria.
Though “The Idol” hasn’t aired yet, it has already become one of TV’s most controversial shows. It ignited concern across social media after reportedly undergoing multiple rewrites as Levinson added “disturbing sexual and physically violent” scenes that altered the creators’ original vision, according to a Rolling Stone report in March. The article characterized the set of “The Idol” as draining and chaotic.
HBO later disputed the claims in a statement to Variety. The company said initial episodes of the show didn’t meet its standards, so it made creative changes that “were in the best interest of both the production and the cast and crew.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the Grammy winner spoke about his desire to permanently ditch his persona as The Weeknd to explore creative talents beyond his pop star identity.
“I’m going through a cathartic path right now,” he said. “It’s getting to a place and a time where I’m getting ready to close The Weeknd chapter. I’ll still make music, maybe as Abel, maybe as The Weeknd. But I still want to kill The Weeknd. And I will. Eventually. I’m definitely trying to shed that skin and be reborn.”
The Canadian pop star is also set to appear in a still-untitled film opposite “Wednesday” actor Jenna Ortega and Oscar nominee Barry Keoghan (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Variety reported. Tesfaye is a co-writer and producer for the film.
“The Idol” will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this month, and will hit HBO on June 4.