Director Richard Ayoade‘s latest film is assembling an all-star cast. Ben Stiller, Jesse Eisenberg, and Sally Hawkins are in talks to star in The Semplica Girl Diaries. The three actors are circling the dystopian comedy project, an adaptation of the 2012 George Saunders short story of the same name according to The Hollywood Reporter; Saunders’ work also served as the source material for last year’s Joseph Kosinski film Spiderhead.
The Semplica Girl Diaries centers around a suburban father who purchases a Semplica Girl, a decorative lawn ornament and status symbol, for his teenage daughter. However, he learns that the ornaments are actually living women from poor countries who have sold themselves into servitude. This will be Ayoade‘s third feature, and his first in ten years, after 2010’s Submarine (which also starred Hawkins) and 2013’s The Double.
The son of comedians Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, Stiller is one of Hollywood’s top comedy stars, with films like Zoolander, Night at the Museum, and Meet the Parents under his belt. However, outside a handful of cameos, Stiller has been largely absent from the screen since his role in 2017’s The Meyerowitz Stories, focusing on work behind the camera instead; he recently produced and directed the Apple TV thriller series Severance. However, it was reported last week that he is also in talks to play the three lead roles in a limited series based on the documentary Three Identical Strangers.
After breaking out in the comedies Adventureland and Zombieland, Eisenberg earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. He was most recently seen in the Hulu miniseries Fleishman is in Trouble, and will star with Adrien Brody in the thriller Manodrome, out later this year; his directorial debut When You Finish Saving the World, with Julianne Moore and Finn Wolfhard, premiered last month.
British actor Hawkins gained prominence for her roles in the films of Mike Leigh; she earned Oscar nominations for her performances in Blue Jasmine and The Shape of Water. She can next be seen in this year’s Wonka, starring Timothée Chalamet. In addition to directing, Ayoade is well-known for his lead role on the British sitcom The IT Crowd, and starring in the Stiller-led comedy The Watch; he also lent his voice to The Boxtrolls, Soul, and The Bad Guys. He will next appear in Wes Anderson‘s Roald Dahl adaptation The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.
Cornerstone Films will be handling international sales on The Semplica Girl Diaries. They are believed to be shopping the film at the upcoming European Film Market.
Stay tuned to Collider for future updates.