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Issa Rae Joins Bill Hader in Drama-Comedy ‘Empress of Serenity’

Variety logo Variety 3/22/2017 Dave McNary
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“Insecure” star Issa Rae is joining Bill Hader in the drama-comedy “Empress of Serenity,” directed by “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” author and screenwriter Jesse Andrews.

Good Universe is producing “Empress of Serenity,” centered on a lawyer who’s coerced into taking an ocean cruise in order to bond with his estranged father. Production is planned for August.

Producers are Stephen Chbosky along with Mr. Mudd’s Lianne Halfon, Russell Smith, and John Malkovich. The same group produced “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake of Good Universe will executive produce alongside Mr. Mudd’s John Malkovich.

Hader plays a man whose elaborate plan to win back his ex-wife is upended when he is guilted into a month-long mega-cruise with his widowed father. Rae plays a reclusive kindred spirit in the cabin next door who becomes both the aid and the obstacle in his plan.

Andrews is making his directorial debut from his original script. Hader came on to the project in November.

Rae is represented by UTA, 3Arts Entertainment and John Meigs at Hansen, Jacobson. Rae created the YouTube web series “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl.”

Hader is represented by UTA and attorney Fred Toczek. Andrews is represented by WME, Myman Greenspan and Mason Novick & Michelle Knudsen. Dan Freedman of Good Universe negotiated on behalf of producers.

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