Social media is a window into the supposedly charmed existences of people both famous and average. Frequently, though, sites like Instagram and Snapchat are utilized by ordinary folks to create a spectacular life for themselves that actually doesn’t exist. Do these average commoners think that concocting a fake “good life” is the only way for them to get clicks and follows? Will these would-be influencers reckon with the real consequences of their digital deception?

A quartet of alluring yet troubled millennials will discover the uncomfortable answers to those questions in TROPHY BOYS: THE SERIES, a new comedy/drama created by and starring Emrhys Cooper in the same role he portrayed in the acclaimed short film TROPHY BOY (upon which the series is based): that of a narcissistic social media star, James, who gets a shocking reality check when his older boyfriend/benefactor stops supporting him and the fantasy lifestyle he’s created for millions of unsuspecting young adults to peek into online.

TROPHY BOYS: THE SERIES hopes to begin production of its first season sometime this Summer, although information on its cast and their characters have not been announced yet. In the show’s introductory 12 episode arc, James and his fellow influencers grasp the good and harmful aspects of their artificially produced celebrity, and the potential for that celebrity to cause catastrophic problems in their already tough day-to-day doings in New York City.

TROPHY BOYS star/creator Emrhys Cooper.

TROPHY BOYS star/creator Emrhys Cooper. Photo courtesy Max Torandell.

“TROPHY BOYS: THE SERIES is going to be a psychological exposé of a group of friends who appear to be famous on social media but are actually going on journeys of self—either self-improvement or self-destruction, ” says Cooper. “The characters live duplicitous lives, one carefully curated and ring-lit online, and the other a pale comparison, rooted in the harsh lighting of reality.”

Like the short film that introduced viewers to James and his fabulous yet false “life” on the web, TROPHY BOYS: THE SERIES is an entertaining yet thought-provoking peek into social media, and the millennials who use it to invent a world that they may never be able to attain but through trickery.

“Truthfully, these four are pinching pennies and trading currency in online likes and followers—which they soon find out is a fickle dollar. Behind the smoke and mirrors of online fabulousness lies a darker truth,” Cooper notes. “The characters will go to any length to attain fame and notoriety—even if they have to trade their bodies to get there.”

TROPHY BOYS: THE SERIES continues Cooper’s examination of the double-edged sword that social media represents to everyone: a communication form that, as experienced by Cooper’s vain character in TROPHY BOYS, can destroy the lives of as many people as it benefits.

“Following the success of my award-winning short film TROPHY BOY, I felt compelled to write a series which embarks on a more profound journey into the lives of those seeking fame and fortune through social media,” explains Cooper. “With a generation obsessed with self-promotion and social-climbing, I sought to create an honest and hard-hitting exposé of the economic and emotional challenges that people currently face. Life is hard.”

Based also on Cooper’s own pitfalls with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the like, TROPHY BOYS is also a no-punches-pulled cautionary tale of how the dark side of social media can cloud its rewards. “I have experienced the harmful side effects of being an online influencer, and I have witnessed the reality of the degradation and self-destruction that can sit behind a popular Instagram account. TROPHY BOYS: THE SERIES aims to bring all of this squarely into public awareness and give people a wake-up call to re-examine their onscreen authenticity and their additive use of social platforms.”

While Cooper touts the show’s grittiness and fascinating characters as two of its strengths, he feels that TROPHY BOYS’ authenticity is what makes the series effective. “They say ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ so I’ve tried to make the series as real and honest as possible. I’ve been pulling things from things I’ve experienced or witnessed in life. I think we’re going through a purge in the bullshit of it all, and I want to talk about real issues that this generation is struggling with.”


Emrhys Cooper reprises his TROPHY BOY role as narcissistic social media influencer James in the upcoming series TROPHY BOYS, slated to begin production sometime this Summer. Photo courtesy Max Torandell.

Picking up where TROPHY BOY left off, TROPHY BOYS is the second and most expansive phase of the story Cooper introduced in the short film. “I always intended on making a series. The short was just a proof of concept and a small snippet on where I want the series to go. The series is a much bigger, more diverse world. We have a very strong female lead, (plus) a buff naughty straight trainer and a colorful drag queen, just to name a few of the characters to expect.”

Though TROPHY BOYS was developed as a compelling extension of Cooper’s short film idea, Cooper wants the series’ viewers to understand how using social media can be as much of a burden as it is a blessing. “Hopefully it (the show) will attract a mixed and wide range of people. I hope to make something profound and thought-provoking. I want to tell stories that will awaken the audience, but also entertain them.”

As TROPHY BOYS: THE SERIES launches filming of its first season, Cooper reminds the show’s audience that a happier life is one that’s both fun and realistic; a life that also doesn’t have to be lived in cyberspace.

“(I want them) to not take life too seriously. Life is already serious enough,” Cooper remarks. “Spend less time worrying about what people think, and just live in the moment. Be authentic. I believe that’s the main key to happiness.”

NOTE: Cooper says that TROPHY BOYS will probably be closed-captioned/subtitled. More details on the series, plus info on where and when it will premiere, will be announced later this year.

The short film TROPHY BOY can be viewed here: