The actor plays troubled pop singer Jocelyn in the HBO series, which has been repeatedly criticised for its explicit content, questionable dialogue and scenes that have been branded “torture porn” by viewers.
Depp, who regularly appears nude in the series, has acknowledged such controversies in a new interview days before the final episode is due to air, stating that “the show is not for everyone”.
“I was never interested in making something puritanical,” the actor told Vogue Australia, adding: “It’s OK if this show isn’t for everyone and that’s fine – I think all the best art is [polarising].”
Addressing claims by members of production that the show, created by Sam Levinson and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, depicted an exploitative and misogynist attitude towards women, Depp continued: “I’ve never felt more respected and more safe on a set, honestly.”
Depp said that filming the show “was such a beautiful time in my life”, stating: “I’ll never forget it and it will live in my heart forever. I love this character so much, I feel like she has really changed me and also taught me so, so, so much.”
In March, the show came under fire after Rolling Stone published an exposé featuring anonymous interviews with those who worked on the series. They alleged that Tesfaye, Levinson and the show’s producers had taken the show “disgustingly off the rails” to create a drama “about a man who gets to abuse this woman and she loves it”.
However, some are defending the series, with many saying the scenes are supposed to be tough to watch as Tedros is taking advantage of Jocelyn’s “vulnerability” – and that the show is depicting their relationship as “sick”.
Meanwhile, Tesfaye said that viewers are not supposed to like Tedros, commenting on a graphic scene featured in episode two: “There’s nothing sexy about it. 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.”
The Idol concludes on Sunday (2 July) on HBO in the US and the following day in the UK on NOW and Sky Atlantic.