Lily-Rose Depp Defends 'The Idol' Explicit Sex Scenes, Calls Them Important and Intentional

The actress is coming to the defense of her show that has received a lot of backlash.

The Idol has received backlash for months for its nudity, sex scenes and portrayal of toxic masculinity, with many critics questioning its value. Now, the show’s star, Lily-Rose Depp, is defending the decisions of the show. 

"We know that we’re making something provocative and we are not shying away from that. That’s something I knew I was setting out to do from the beginning," she tells Vogue Australia in an interview for the July cover story. "I was never interested in making something puritanical. It’s OK if this show isn’t for everyone and that’s fine — I think all the best art is [polarizing]."

Depp continues, "When it comes to the nudity and the risqué nature of the role, that to me was really intentional. That was really important to me and something that I was excited about doing. I’m not scared of it. I think we live in a highly sexualized world. I think that’s an interesting thing to explore."

The Idol was created by Sam Levinson, Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye, and Reza Fahim, and focuses on an aspiring pop idol (Depp) and her complex relationship with Tedros (Tesfaye), a self-help guru and cult leader.

Depp tells the fashion magazine that the environment on set was a "really safe creative space."

"I've never felt more respected and more safe on a set, honestly," Depp shares. "And I think the trust that we all built with each other, you and I, and Sam and I, and Abel and I, that can only make for a really safe-feeling set."

The 24-year-old actress continues, "The creative environment that Sam creates on set, to me, is conducive to the best work I feel like I have done and it brought the best out of everyone … And I just couldn’t have felt more supported by Sam. It felt like a big creative playground where we were free to try things and have it work or not work."

Depp says that playing the role of troubled Jocelyn "changed" her and taught her "so, so, so much."

"I'll never say goodbye to Jocelyn. It was such a beautiful time in my life, honestly," she says. "I'll never forget it and it will live in my heart forever. I love this character so much."

Episode 2 of The Idol — which was labeled by some as having the "worst sex scene in history" — lost more than 100,000 viewers from the premiere, with a 12% drop in viewership. About 800,000 people tuned in to the second episode compared to the 913,000 who watched the premiere, Variety reported 

Earlier this month, The Weeknd responded to the backlash surrounding his sex scenes in that episode in a new interview with GQ. While the scene sees his character, Tedros, and Jocelyn get intimate on screen, Tesfaye said there's nothing "sexy" about it.

"There's nothing sexy about it. When we use Basic Instinct as a reference, we're using Verhoeven. Verhoeven is the king of '90s satire thriller -- yes, there’s moments of 'sexy' in his films but there are other moments that are very cheesy and hilarious," he said of the much-talked-about moment. "However you're feeling watching that scene, whether it's discomfort, or you feel gross, or you feel embarrassed for the characters. It's all those emotions adding up to: This guy is in way over his head, this situation is one where he is not supposed to be here."

This isn't the first time Tesfaye came to the show's defense. He previously called out a Rolling Stone expose which claimed that production of the series had "gone wildly, disgustingly off the rails."

Responding to the criticism in a Vanity Fair profile, Tesfaye said he "thought the article was ridiculous," adding, "I wanted to give a ridiculous response to it."

At the time the allegations were first published, the musician responded by sharing a clip from the show in which his character deems Rolling Stone "irrelevant."

Hank Azaria, who also stars in The Idol, has too defended the Max drama, telling the Today show that "every care was taken" when it came to the nude scenes featured in the series. 

The Idol is currently streaming on Max. It was initially slated to have six episodes, but an episode was allegedly cut, and the season will end on episode 5.