Will a literal teenager write the next Euphoria? If a new HBO Max series goes to pilot, the answer could be yes. 17-year-old Zelda Barnz is penning Generation, a potential new show that wants to portray the youth as honestly as possible, according to Deadline.
HBO Max's Generation is described as a "dark yet playful half-hour dramedy" set in a conservative community where issues of love, family, and modern sexuality intersect. Barnz, the daughter of Cake filmmakers Daniel and Ben Barnz, was encouraged to write after she realized she wanted to tell stories of her generation authentically. Lena Dunham, showrunner and star of HBO's Girls, will produce the series, while Daniel Barnz is set to helm the pilot.
"I’ll try and keep this brief but....WOW my first deadline announcement at 17," Barnz wrote on Instagram. "I am so incredibly grateful for all the opportunities that have presented themselves to me over the past three years. I have wanted to tell stories from the minute I could talk. This is everything."
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I’ll try and keep this brief but....WOW my first deadline announcement at 17. I am so incredibly grateful for all the opportunities that have presented themselves to me over the past three years. I have wanted to tell stories from the minute I could talk. This is everything.❤️
Barnz and Dunham seemingly have a bond. Earlier this summer, Dunham shared some Love Island fan art Barnz made with Twitter.
This is the work of Zelda Barnz, age 17, a young American visiting the UK. She translated the souls of this season’s contestants into house plants, cuz naturally. Casa Amor Forever #LoveIsland pic.twitter.com/QsT3HZiEXM— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) July 9, 2019
Prior to writing Generation, Barnz wrote an essay for the summer 2017 edition of zine GIRLTALK, titled "A Firsthand Reflection on Catcalling." In the essay, she described being catcalled by an adult man while walking home from the beach, when she was a young teen.
Generation was previously set up at HBO, where its first teen drama Euphoria is currently going into its second season. That series that explores the teen experience through the lens of Rue (Zendaya), a 17-year-old grappling with substance issues, is written by 34-year-old Sam Levinson. Although he is no longer a teenager, Levinson based Rue's journey to recovery on his battle with addiction.
"I do think it’s important that we as a culture — we as parents, we as brothers and sisters — have empathy for the struggles [people] are going through," Levinson told Variety his inspiration writing Euphoria. "I think any time you put anything on screen, you run the risk of glamorizing it just by the nature of it being on screen. I don’t want [to be triggering], but we also have to be authentic about it."
Generation isn't the only show written by and for teenagers: E4's controversial drama Skins was written by teens, including would-be Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya.
Will Barnz's lived experience make Generation feel as real as possible? That's the idea — let's see if HBO Max orders it to series so we can find out.