Natasha Lyonne and Alia Shawkat are developing a half-hour series at Amazon, Variety has learned exclusively.
Titled “Desert People,” the series follows a family of Iraqi immigrants who run a gentleman’s club in Palm Springs. Shawkat will star as the parents’ adult daughter in LA who is coming to terms with her sexuality and identity as a first generation American.
Shawkat and Lyonne co-created the series. Shawkat will write, while both she and Lyonne will also serve as executive producers along with Maya Rudolph, Danielle Renfrew Behrens, and Dianne McGunigle. Lyonne, Rudolph and Renfrew Behrens are executive producing under their Animal Pictures banner, which is currently under a first-look deal at Amazon.
Should the project move forward, it would mark Shawkat’s first series writing credit. She previously wrote the 2018 feature “Duck Butter,” in which she also starred. As an actress, she is known for her role in “Arrested Development” and her starring role in “Search Party.” Her other TV credits include the upcoming FX series “The Old Man,” “Transparent,” and “Drunk History.”
She is repped by UTA, MGMT Entertainment, and Lichter Grossman.
Lyonne and Animal Pictures are also currently developing the animated comedy “The Hospital” at Amazon. Lyonne also recently co-created and starred in the critically-acclaimed Netflix comedy “Russian Doll.” The show earned her three Emmy nominations — best actress in a comedy, best writing for a comedy series, and best comedy series as an executive producer. She is currently prepping Season 2 of that show. Lyonne’s well-known acting roles include “Orange Is the New Black,” for which she earned an Emmy nomination in 2014, as well as films like “Slums of Beverly Hills” and “But I’m a Cheerleader.”
She is repped by WME, 3 Arts Entertainment, and Schreck Rose.