Bret Easton Ellis’ HBO Series ‘The Shards’ Taps ‘Dream Scenario’ Filmmaker Kristoffer Borgli to Direct

Bret Easton Ellis’ series at HBO is inching closer to reality. HBO has tapped Kristoffer Borgli to direct the series adaptation of the Ellis book “The Shards.”

Borgli, who directed last year’s “Dream Scenario” starring Nicolas Cage and 2022’s “Sick of Myself,” is attached to direct and serve as an executive producer on the series that’s currently in development at HBO.

Ellis published “The Shards” just last year, and the series per its official logline is “set in the early ’80s and tracks a group of privileged Los Angeles High School friends as a serial killer strikes across the city.”

But what makes “The Shards” ripe for an adaptation is that it’s a pulpy and sexy yet sprawling and unwieldy piece of fiction featuring much of Ellis’ own biography. While it follows the murders of a serial killer known as The Trawler with great detail, it also follows the sexual exploits of a 17-year-old bisexual named Bret, a San Fernando Valley trust-fund prep-school kid writing a book called “Less Than Zero.” Not only that, “The Shards” is very nearly a direct transcript of a collection of serials Ellis began publishing on his Patreon in 2020.

As previously announced, Ellis is solely writing the series adaptation of “The Shards” and will also executive produce alongside “The White Lotus” EP Nick Hall and Brian Young and Kathleen McCaffrey.

While Ellis’ success in film and TV has been hit or miss, this HBO series has a chance to be the most ambitious and successful since 2000’s “American Psycho.” Ellis previously wrote 2020’s “Smiley Faced Killers” and he had a 2016 webseries on Fullscreen called “The Deleted.” He’s also itching to finally make his directorial debut on a horror film called “Relapse” that will star “Stranger Things” actor Joseph Quinn.

Borgli taking on a period drama should be a fascinating change of pace, as the director talked with IndieWire last year about how his films so far have been about “mass culture and recognition and status, and what that looks like now,” and how that often dovetails with a commentary about social media.

“Our self-worth is now through the eyes of others,” he said. “I think it has provided a proxy for feeling accomplished. In the same way that fast food was a bad source for running a healthy life, it’s the empty calories of status. The healthy version is: You are trying to accomplish something, something that might be difficult, and something that people might value once you’ve done it. Social media has just gotten rid of that problem. You don’t have to achieve anything, you just need to go hard with a personal branding and making yourself the product.”

Borgli is repped by UTA and Granderson Des Rochers.

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