That’s The Weeknd’s Actual Bel-Air Mansion in ‘The Idol’


Shooting in an actual pop star’s house would seem to lend the show an air of authenticity, but it seems the choice was as much commercial as it was artistic. Part of the impetus Levinson told W, was to save money ahead of lengthy reshoots that saw original director Amy Seimetz depart and the tone of the series reportedly retooled.

“If we were going to reshoot from the beginning, I knew it had to be for less money. Sitting in Abel’s house, looking around at the 40,000 square feet, I said, ‘It’s stunning here—you can’t buy production design like this. What if we shoot it here?’” Levinson explained. “Abel put down his drink and said, ‘Do you have insurance?’ I said yes. And he said, ‘I’m okay with it.’”

Levinson went on to tell W that he, along with his wife and child, “essentially moved into Tesfaye’s house” to finish work on the series. The Weeknd, by contrast, had effectively moved out at the same time, saying he felt that they “were trying to blur the line between fiction and reality,” and that returning to the home once shooting wrapped was a strange experience. (He noted that he changed the furniture and replastered the walls upon returning.)

The Weeknd at his Bel Air mansion, which was used as Jocelyn’s mansion in The Idol.Courtesy of Eddy Chen for HBO.

“The bedrooms were now greenrooms; the bathrooms were for hair and makeup,” Tesfaye told W. “We built a music studio in the basement so Mike Dean, who helped compose, and I could score the show while we were filming.”

The home figures heavily into the pilot, from bird’s eye view angles of Jocelyn’s team figuring out a PR crisis by the pool, to walk-and-talks in the home’s elegant white hallways, to shots of Jocelyn in what is presumably the master bedroom. Jocelyn and her dancers even rehearse choreography in the yard. It’s possible as The Idol goes on that the gargantuan mansion could come to represent a gilded cage for Jocelyn, who possesses all the trappings of celebrity but still feels controlled by others.

Read more:
That’s The Weeknd’s Actual Bel-Air Mansion in ‘The Idol’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *