Sarah Colonna, a close-knit member of Chelsea Handler’s comedic crew who also appeared on The United States of Tara, will reunite with Tara writer Diablo Cody for the Juno scribe’s as-yet-untitled directorial debut.

Deadline, which breaks the news, says Colonna will take a supporting role opposite Footloose beauty Julianne Hough, who plays the survivor of an airplane crash who denounces God after she emerges with one-third of her body badly burned. Cody, who is directing from her own original screenplay, also has cast Oscar winners Octavia Spencer and Holly Hunter, Parks and Rec standout Nick Offerman, and funnyman Russell Brand.

Chelsea Lately viewers will recognize Colonna as a frequent panelist on Handler’s talk show and the equally popular After Lately, where she also serves as a staff writer. But she has acted on the side for years, and currently is shooting the independent Old Days for writer-director Michael Rosenbaum.

But more on Cody’s film, which suggests a serious departure for the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Jennifer’s Body and last year’s beautifully bitchy Young Adult. IMDB lists the new feature as a comedy, though with that plot description, expect it to be a dark as Cody’s regular writing. Cody has shown an ability to transcend clean-cut genre labels. At the very least, she has a tremendous cast in place, and she has been picking up directorial secrets from the likes of Jason Reitman, Karyn Kusama and Quentin Tarantino over the years. With luck, she’ll be able to translate that knowledge into a worthy feature – comedic, dramatic or otherwise.

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