“I want to make a Goonies” – The Director of ‘Euphoria’ sets his sights on creating a kids movie

Sam Levinson is looking to make an unexpected creative pivot with his next project.

As the red carpets rolled out and champagne was put on ice, the biggest names in international cinema descended on Cannes Film Festival, which finishes on Saturday – and there have been plenty of surprises so far. Johnny Depp received a seven-minute standing ovation for his role in Jeanne du Barry, Travis Scott confirmed his return to music, appearing on the red carpet with a Utopia briefcase, and first time director Molly Manning Walker’s How To Have Sex stole the show over plenty more established filmmakers. Yet, it was Sam Levinson’s new contentious series, The Idol, that took the headlines.

Following various controversies surrounding Euphoria, including cast members’ discomfort with the level of nudity, its creator Levinson decided to take things a step further with his upcoming series The Idol, also on HBO. It’s unlikely the filmmaker could get any more controversial, so where could Levinson possibly go from here?

Well, How about the complete opposite direction… When Variety asked him at this year’s Cannes Film Festival “when he might pivot from creating a series and make a feature film,” he had a surprising response:

“I have a 7-year-old son at home,” Levinson said, according to Variety. “I want to make a movie for him. I want to make a Goonies.”

Judging by the internet’s reaction, fans aren’t exactly gleaming over Levinson’s comments. “How are you gonna make a movie with a PG rating when you have to put a girl topless in every other scene,” wrote one Twitter user. “the son won’t be watching,” added another.

Considering that those who worked on The Idol described it as “sexual torture porn” in a recent damning report from Rolling Stone, a kid’s movie, for Levinson, would be a major 180. Meanwhile, the first two episodes of the show – which stars The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp – debuted at the ilm festival this week, and it was severely panned by critics.

In its review of The Idol, Variety considered the show a “sordid male fantasy” and described Levinson’s treatment of Depp’s character as “shameful” and characterised by “degradation and suffering.” 

The Hollywood Reporter wrote that a scene rarely passes without a nude shot of Depp’s character, and the show “ultimately becomes regressive” in its depiction of female sexuality, pointing to Depp’s character relinquishing her agency “at every conceivable moment.” 

The Daily Beast criticised the show for its “hideous, self-excusing presentation of rape culture,” citing a scene in which The Weeknd’s character asks Depp’s character if she trusts him. When she responds, “no,” he chokes her head with a cloth and cuts only a hole for air by her mouth. 

However, Levinson has shrugged off the barrage of criticism, declaring at a Cannes press conference that he believes the HBO series will be “the biggest show of the summer” – which may well be true, albeit for all the wrong reasons.

Despite dealing with reports of a toxic work environment, persistent discussions over nudity in the series, and Barbie Ferreira‘s departure due to the depiction of her character, Levinson delivered a hit with Euphoria, which last season became HBO’s second-most watched show since 2004.

WriterChris Saunders