Less Than Zero developed as TV series for Hulu


A Less Than Zero series is in development at Hulu, the latest in a string of series announced at Hulu that will be adapted from a novel.

According to Variety, Hulu is making Less Than Zero into a new television series for their streaming service. The show is based on the 1985 novel by Bret Easton Ellis, who is also known for American Psycho and The Rules of Attraction.

The novel is about a young man who visits his affluent Beverly Hills home for Christmas break. As he spends time lackadaisically attending lavish, hedonistic parties he reconnects with his best friend whose drug addiction is spiraling out of control.

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The novel was also made into the 1987 film starring Robert Downey Jr., James Spader, Andrew McCarthy, and Jami Gertz.

In retrospect, this cult classic movie is made even more difficult and profound to watch knowing that Downey Jr., who plays the friend struggling with addiction, was, in fact, struggling with a serious drug addiction at the time.

And despite playing a relatively small part, Spader also especially stands out as the local greasy drug dealer.

Craig Wright is set to write and produce the series. He often creates or writes for shows about dysfunctional families and corrupt organizations, which is right in line with Less Than Zero’s nihilistic, dysfunctional Beverly Hills culture and its turbulent relationships.

Wright is known for Dirty Sexy Money, Six Feet Under, The United States of Tara, Tyrant, and Greenleaf. He is probably one of the best people that Hulu could be working with on this project.

One of the big questions on anyone’s mind reading the news would be about potential casting — specifically who would play Julian, played by Downey Jr. in the film. Downey Jr.’s performance is powerful, harrowing, and pathetic and has become even more iconic given the actor’s current mega-fame.

Unfortunately, there really is no one quite like Robert Downey Jr.

There are a number of hot young actors who could use the opportunity to prove their dramatic acting chops. Actors like Ansel Elgort, John Boyega, and Tom Holland have proven to be great performers but haven’t tackled anything quite so challenging as portraying a self-destructive drug addict.

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On the other hand, there are young actors like Freddie Highmore who are experienced dramatic actors who would be a creative but reliable casting choice for the part.

My original thought was Tom Felton, who has a neurotic energy coupled with equal parts grating arrogance and compelling charm, but who is unfortunately probably too old for the part.