Shadow and Act has learned that acclaimed music video director, television director and actress Karena Evans has been tapped to helm the pilot and second episode of HBO Max's Gossip Girl reboot. The series, announced in 2019, is filming in New York City now and will premiere in 2021.
Based on the original CW show (2007-2012) and bestselling novels by Cecily von Ziegesar, the reimagined drama finds a new generation of New York private school teens being introduced to social surveillance eight years after the original blogger’s website went dark.
The reimagining has a diverse cast unlike its predecessor, starring Whitney Peak, Emily Alyn Lind, Savannah Smith, Tavi Gevinson, Eli Brown, Johnathan Fernandez, Jason Gotay. Thomas Doherty, Adam Chanler-Berat and Zion Moreno.
One of the most sought after music video and television directors, Evans first garnered mainstream attention in 2018 for directing music videos for Drake. The same year, she starred in the Canadian film Firecrackers and became the first woman to win the prestigious Prism Lispett Award for music video art. She has also directed the second episode of Starz's P-Valley and wrapped the second episode of Snowfall's upcoming fourth season on FX.
“Josh Safran has found a perfect partner in Karena to illustrate how the landscape of social media, the upper east side and the world have changed since 'Gossip Girl' premiered 13 years ago,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. “Additionally, her passion for inclusive storytelling matches Josh’s and we are proud to have her on this journey with us.”
“I couldn’t be more excited for Karena to launch the new series,” said Joshua Safran, writer and executive producer of the series. “Her vision, voice, and passion are incomparable. It’s an honor and a privilege to get to work with her, and I can’t wait for everyone to see what she has planned.”
It is produced by Fake Empire and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios.