Warning: This article discusses rape.
Sculpture premiered on HBO last night, and it’s safe to say it caused quite a stir.
Produced by Sam Levinson, Reza Faheem and The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfaye), who also stars in the show, Sculpture Centers the controversial relationship between a pop star, Jocelyn, and an LA club owner and cult leader, Tedros. Jocelyn is played by 24-year-old Lily-Rose Depp and Tedros is played by 33-year-old Abel.
The extremely graphic nature of the series was made clear from the moment its first trailer dropped in July 2022. It was noted that the show was “from the gutters of Hollywood” and created by Sam’s “sick” and “twisted mind”. and Abel.
This was particularly controversial given that Sculpture was initially going to be directed by Amy Seimetz, however was instead taken over by Sam. Reports claimed that Sam ordered multiple reshoots due to how unhappy he was about the “female perspective” centering Lily-Rose’s character.
Then, in March 2023, things became even more controversial after an article published by Rolling Stone highlighted concerns from 13 cast and crew members about the “extreme” nature of the show.
While one source claimed Sculpture Others alleged that disturbing sexually and physically violent scenes between Lily-Rose’s character and Abel’s character were added to Sam’s script. One person even alleged that it was “like any rape fantasy any toxic man on the show would have.”
According to more sources cited in the article, Sam initially shot a scene that featured Lily-Rose’s character asking Abel to spank her, which gave her character an erection. Another disturbing alleged scene that could not be shot involved Lily-Rose’s character being asked to carry an egg in her vagina. If the egg broke, Abel’s character would refuse to “rape” her, begging her to rape him because he felt it was the reason for his success.
At the time the Rolling Stone article was published, both Abel and Lily-Rose defended Sam against heavy criticism from appalled readers.
Speaking in Cannes last month, Lily-Rose said of her character, “I think something about Jocelyn is that she is a born and bred artist.”
“I think it extends to every aspect of her life, not just her professional life. I think the way she dresses, for example, she’s trying to tell you something all the time.” or saying something to people that she is around or expressing herself in some way,” she said.
He added, “I also think that sometimes the bareness of the character physically mirrors the bareness that we get to see emotionally.”
Sam, which has also received a lot of criticism for the sexual nature of its other HBO shows, Excitementsaid about the response to Sculpture: “It’s funny, I think sometimes things that could be revolutionary are taken too far.”
“I think we live in a very sexist world,” he went on. “We see it in pop music and how it reflects the underbelly of the internet in some ways. I think with this show and working with Lily, we talked a lot about who she is as a person. Who is I, who is Jocelyn as a person, and what is she feeling, what is she doing, who is she playing with.
fast forward to today, and idol’s The first episode has already shown what the audience has labeled Excessive and degrading female nudity, as well as a disturbing scene of Lily-Rose’s character masturbating.
However, despite the ongoing controversy, Lily-Rose insisted that the series was fine to film.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly on Friday, the 24-year-old said, “Something that definitely explores darker themes and has some heavy emotional moments and all, the vibe on set was pretty light.”
“We’re all really good friends and we’re all similar people and really understand each other,” she said. “We were laughing a lot, listening to a lot of music, dancing around, and that kind of energy made the heavy moments easy and possible.”
Discussing what it was like working with Abel specifically, Lily-Rose said she would sometimes “get carried away” by him on set when he was in “full Tedros mode”.
“I don’t think anybody went completely — nobody lost their mind. Well, sometimes when Abel gets — I don’t want to reveal too much about where Abel’s character goes, but when he —if I was ever in full Tedros mode, I would have turned away from him,” she said.
“I’m like, ‘He’s in his zone right now,'” she said.