The Weeknd, ‘Waves’ Director Trey Edward Shults’ to Co-Write New Film

Jenna Ortega and Barry Keoghan will star alongside the pop star in the untitled project.
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 12: The Weeknd attends 20th Century Studio's "Avatar 2: The Way of Water" U.S. Premiere at Dolby Theatre on December 12, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
The Weeknd

After his legendary cameo as himself in “Uncut Gems,” R&B star Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye is making his proper feature film acting debut. The artist behind “After Hours” and “Dawn FM” will write and star in a new film from “Waves” and “It Comes at Night” director Trey Edward Shults, IndieWire has confirmed.

In addition to Tesfaye, the currently untitled project will also star “Wednesday” and “Scream” breakout Jenna Ortega and “The Banshees of Inisherin” Oscar nominee Barry Keoghan. Tesfaye and Shults co-wrote the script for the currently untitled project with Reza Fahim, who has previously collaborated with Tesfaye on his upcoming HBO series “The Idol.” Tesfaye will also compose the score for the feature with Daniel Lopatin, or OPN, who is best known for his work on “Uncut Gems” and the Safdie Brother’s other film “Good Time.” Chayse Irvin serves as director of photography; his previous credits include “Blonde” and “BlacKkKlansman.”

Plot details for the film are currently under wraps, but the project has already begun production. Tesfaye, Fahim, Kevin Turen, and Harrison Kreiss produce, while Shults and Ortega executive produce. A studio for the film has not yet been announced, but all three of Shults’ prior projects have been distributed by A24.

Tesfaye is one of the best-selling modern pop stars with over 75 million records sold worldwide. In 2015, he received an Oscar nomination for his “50 Shades of Grey” tie-in song “Earned It,” and released the “Avatar: The Way of Water” song “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” last year.

He co-created “The Idol,” set for release sometime later this year on HBO, with “Euphoria” creator Sam Levinson, and leads an ensemble cast that also includes Lily-Rose Depp, Suzanna Son, Troye Sivan, Moses Sumney, Jane Adams, Dan Levy, Jennie Ruby Jane, Eli Roth, Rachel Sennott, Hari Nef, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Mike Dean, and Hank Azaria.

Shults made his feature directorial debut in 2015 with his South by Southwest premiere “Krisha.” He followed the film with “It Comes at Night” in 2017 and “Waves” in 2019, both of which received positive reviews.

Tesfaye is represented by CAA, manager Wassim Slaiby & Amir Esmailian and attorney Kenny Meiselas of Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks. Ortega is represented by CAA, Gilbertson Entertainment, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman. Keoghan is represented by WME, Entertainment 360, B-Side Management and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern. Shults is represented by WME and Jackoway Austen Tyerman.

Deadline was the first to report on The Weeknd and Shults’ upcoming film.

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.