Jacob Elordi at the premiere of "Saltburn" held at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on November 14, 2023 in ...


I Won’t Watch The Shards Adaptation Unless Jacob Elordi Is Cast

Saltburn is proof of concept.

Jacob Elordi has been on TV since Euphoria in 2019 — but it wasn’t until the release of Sofia Coppola’s Priscila and, more potently, Emerald Fennell's Saltburn, that I started to hear a blushing chorus of “I get it now,” or “I knew he was hot, but I didn’t know he was that hot.” Before seeing these films I thought he was just another cutie with swoopy hair for my Gen Z siblings to gush over, but now I get it: He possesses a hotness that inspires desperate-to-the-point-of-pathetic obsession — the kind that’s crucial to playing the deity-like character of Robert Mallory in the upcoming HBO miniseries adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s novel The Shards.

The 600-page not-not autobiographical novel follows 17-year-old Bret and a group of prep-school students in 1981 Los Angeles: Think convertibles speeding on Mulholland, quaaludes, and horseback riding in Malibu. Bret becomes increasingly paranoid about a local serial killer who seems to be getting closer to the friend group — particularly after the arrival of transfer student Robert Mallory, a charismatic, devastatingly handsome character who inspires such rabid attraction in Bret, who is closeted, that he experiences full-blown panic attacks. It’s a claustrophobic, panicky book that is miss-your-train-stop addictive and exquisitely vulnerable.

The thriller is in the works to be an HBO miniseries to be directed by Luca Guadagnino of Call Me By Your Name (an equally obsessive gay panic novel). In September, Elordi and Guadagnino were spotted having lunch in Venice, prompting rumors that Elordi would be cast in the series. It also prompted me to text any of my dozen friends who plowed through the novel this summer, all of whom responded with many an exclamation point and in all caps to the news. But that was four months ago and nothing has been confirmed yet.

As a result, Elordi has inspired an obsession within me, too, one that’s put me on a crusade to ensure that nobody else plays Robert Mallory. See, I think Elordi being cast is the only way the film is going to work: This character requires the kind of hotness that someone would upend the social order for, a kind of hotness that no real 18-year-old has ever possessed.

Elordi’s past work is proof he has what it takes — thus far, this 6-foot-5 man has been appropriately cast only in roles so hot they drive everyone else a little insane. It’s the kind of hotness that made him the perfect Nate in Euphoria, leading Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) down an obsessive rabbit hole of waking up at 4 a.m. to get dolled up to impress him. It also makes him a believable Elvis who possesses the kind of raw magnetism that drives women to erupt in screams and throw their bras onstage. And in the last month alone, he made headlines including GQ’s “How Jacob Elordi Became the New King,” and Vox’s “Jacob Elordi is the number one babygirl,” while Vulture published a 900-word ode to his eyebrow stud in Saltburn, titled “Saltburn Is Nothing Without Jacob Elordi’s Li’l Eyebrow Stud.” (Can confirm!)

The most relevant proof of concept is Saltburn, which touches on similar themes as The Shards: dark academia, issues of class, and fluid, hidden sexualities. In Saltburn, Elordi plays wealthy, popular Oxford student Felix Catton (who, yes, has an eyebrow piercing, as well as Julian Casablancas hair), who brings his pal Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) to his estate in the English countryside. Oliver becomes — wait for it! — obsessed with him, to the point that he drinks Felix’s bodily fluids out of a bathtub after watching him masturbate.

This level of “please, destroy me!” hotness is a quality necessary for what is poised to be the most addictive literary adaptation of 2024. And it’s not just what Elordi looks like: It’s unclear how much of this quality comes from possessing such absurdly good looks, but his characters have an uncanny ability to wield their attractiveness in puppet-master ways, leaving the scales of relationships balanced in their favor. Other characters are in awe of him, sure, but never know quite where they stand. He possesses a charm he can turn on and off at leisure, which is probably the most crucial quality when it comes to making Bret and his cohort of prep-school buddies melt into piles of goo.

Like Oliver in Saltburn, Bret’s obsession with Robert Mallory borders on the absurd– you start to question how someone can possess this level of star quality. In fiction, you can imagine what this person might look like, but on screen, it has to be someone convincing. Lucky for us, Jacob Elordi exists.