Refreshingly, the Weeknd has made it clear in a number of After Hours era interviews that he's been taking COVID-19 quite seriously.
Abel, of course, is one of a number of artists whose 2020 agenda was—for lack of a more apt description—wholly fucked up by the seriousness of the pandemic here in the U.S. While the savory synth-drenched songs of After Hours (as well as the strictly maintained aesthetic and character work seen in Abel's assortment of TV appearances this year) practically beg to be heard in an arena setting, fans are indeed going to have to wait for quite some time now before such an experience is reasonably possible.
In a new interview, however, Abel offers fans some comfort by confirming that his quarantine efforts have proven creatively fruitful.
Speaking with Brittany Spanos for a new Rolling Stone cover piece, Abel conceded that he's "been going kind of mad" after being "cooped up" for months while taking special care when it comes to COVID-19 avoidance due to being an asthmatic. Still, this period has given him the time and space to delve deeper into plans for his continued expansion into cinema, a noteworthy ambition that's already given him a well-received turn in Uncut Gems alongside Adam Sandler.
Not only does Abel already have a pre-quarantine script in the bag, described here as a "secretive screenplay" that he "can't talk about" too much just yet, but he's aiming for a Simpsons guest spot. In terms of more traditionally cinematic plans, the Weeknd is looking to take a path that will see him retaining creative control by way of writing and directing.
"I just want to be a filmmaker," he explained in the interview, conducted as part of the publication's 2021 Grammys preview special. "I want to make great cinema." An exercise he's been doing as of late, though he cautions that the resulting work may never see a formal release, is to write music to accompany scenes and characters from what he's been watching during quarantine.
Recently, Abel's viewing history has including a ton of films and TV binges, with the 2010 movie I Saw the Devil and the 2018 Netflix series Waco both getting mentions here.
"I'll write about their relationship or something in a song," the Weeknd said. "It might never see the light of day. That's an exercise. I love doing that." As for new music at large, Abel confirmed that the possibility indeed remains that he could exit the COVID-19 era with a new album ready to go.
"I might have another album ready to go by the time this quarantine is over," he said, later adding that he may have "cracked the code" with regards to balancing his artistic goals in film and music.
For the full interview, which also sees Abel describing After Hours as his "most perfect album" and addressing the Recording Academy's recent decision to change the Best Urban Contemporary Album category name, head to RS.