He's best known to the world as The Weeknd, but before the fame and fortune, he was simply Abel Tesfaye. Now, the Starboy hitmaker is one of the most well-known recording artists of all time, as well as an actor and producer in his own right. We first saw his chops alongside Adam Sandler and Julia Fox in the Safdie brother's Uncut Gems, but for his latest project, we'll be seeing Tesfaye take the lead in HBO's The Idol with the help of director Sam Levinson. Ahead of the long-awaited show's premiere, the multi-talent graces the cover of the latest edition of Interview Magazine to discuss his work, among other exciting topics.
"What drew me to play him was just getting to pretend to be someone else. It was a challenge, because The Weeknd, obviously, isn't me," Tesfaye said of his creepy cult-leader character, who enchants Lily Rose-Depp in The Idol. "But I drew a lot from myself to create that character. Tedros is nothing like me... Vulnerability is key in the characters you play, no matter how evil they are. If you can find the vulnerability in them, somehow they become likable."
The Weeknd Introduces Abel Tesfaye
Elsewhere in his interview, the 33-year-old addressed the sometimes controversial nature of his past work, following Rolling Stone's noteworthy criticism of his forthcoming show. "I've been judged since the beginning. My stuff's always kind of been provocative," Tesfaye recalled. Though it's not always easy, the "After Hours" artist has realized that hate comes with the territory. "As an artist, you have to know that you can't please everybody, and you have to accept that it comes with the job."
Along with the HBO project, Tesfaye has been tapping back into his musical persona to prepare an accompanying album for the show. "There's a whole album. I'm not shying away from making music. It's just adding another element to my already crowded schedule," he dished to Interview. Keep scrolling to check out more from The Weeknd's latest cover story for the magazine. Afterward, let us know if you'll be tuning into The Idol upon its debut in the comments.