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3 YEARS

Jerusha Hess to Direct Romantic Comedy with 'Twilight' Author Stephenie Meyer Producing (Exclusive)

The "Napoleon Dynamite" co-writer has lined up Keri Russell, J.J. Feild and Bret McKenzie to star in the romantic comedy "Austenland," which will be Meyer's debut as a producer of non-authored material.

Jerusha Hess
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Jerusha Hess

Keri Russell, JJ Feild and Bret McKenzie will star in Austenland, an indie romantic comedy that is serving as the directorial debut of Jerusha Hess, who co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre with her husband, helmer Jared Hess.

In a twist, the movie is also serving as the producing debut of Stephenie Meyer, author of the best-selling vampire books The Twilight Saga. Meyer has acted as a producer on the Twilight adaptations but this will be her first time working on non-authored fare.

Meyer is producing and financing the pic though her Fickle Fish Films banner, which she runs with Meghan Hibbett. Moxie Pictures’ Gina Mingacci is also producing.

Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, Rupert Vansittart and James Callis make up the supporting cast of the rom-com, which centers on a single, thirtysomething woman with a secret obsession with Mr. Darcy -- as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. The obsession is ruining her love life because no real man can compare.

When she decides to spend her life savings on a trip to an English resort catering to Jane Austen-crazed women, the woman's fantasy of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman becomes more real than she could have imagined.

Feild is playing a Mr. Darcy actor at Austenland who develops true feelings for the American woman. Coolidge is playing a vain and crude vacationer.

Shannon Hale wrote the book on which the movie is based and co-wrote the script with Hess.

The movie begins shooting this week in the U.K. UTA is handling worldwide sales.

Hess, who also co-wrote Gentlemen Broncos and is an exec producer on the Fox’s animated TV series version of Napoleon Dynamite, is repped by UTA.

Russell, repped by WME, recently wrapped indie feature Goats, which also stars David Duchovny and Vera Farmiga.

Feild, repped by ICM, next plays British superhero Union Jack in Captain America: The Next Avenger.

Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com

Twitter: @Borys_Kit