Body-positive, coming-of-age dramedy Empire Waist has announced its core cast, Deadline reports. SMILF star Mia Kaplan, Rainn Wilson of The Office fame, Y: The Last Man‘s Missi Pyle, The White Lotus‘ Jolene Purdy, and newcomer Jemima Yevu have all signed on to writer/director Clare Ayob’s project.
Currently in production in New York through Wayfarer Studios, Ayoub’s first feature centers on a group of teens who overcome societal bias and celebrate self-acceptance through inclusive fashion design and friendship. Kaplan will lead the film as Lenore, a teen with deep weight insecurity but a passion for fashion design. Day-to-day Lenore tries to make herself invisible in an effort to avoid being bullied — by both her classmates and her image-focused mother (Pyle). However, her best friend Kayla (Yevu), a confident, outgoing, and proudly plus-sized teen, alongside Lenore’s father Mark (Wilson) and her teacher Ms. Hall (Purdy) act as cheerleaders.
Ayoub found the inspiration for Empire Waist in the response to her 2014 personal essay, “Notes to My Twelve Year Old Self.” It is the film that she wishes she’d has as a teen dealing with body positivity issues, and one that Wayfarer has said that they are excited to produce.