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Natasha Lyonne Joins Kristen Wiig’s Pet Project Comedy ‘Imogene’

Natasha Lyonne Joins Kristen Wiig's Pet Project Comedy 'Imogene'

June Diane Raphael Also Joins Cast

In case you’re unaware, the aughts weren’t particularly kind to indie actress Natasha Lyonne. After break-out roles in “Slums of Beverly Hills,” “But I’m a Cheerleader” and the hit franchise “American Pie,” things went seriously awry for the actress. From 2001 through 2007 she was in various drug and alcohol treatment centers and was arrested several times for her exploits (friend and fellow actor Michael Rapaport wrote a lengthy and candid article in a 2005 Jane magazine about her downward spiral and how he was forced to evict her from the New York apartment she rented from him).

While she was invited back for “American Pie 2,” that’s as deep as she got into the series and the aughts were filled with forgettable roles in forgettable films. Still, it looks like a minor comeback may be on the horizon. The actress is returning for 2012’s “American Reunion” and Variety now reports that Lyonne has scored a plum gig in Kristen Wiig‘s next labor-of-love project, “Imogene.”

Additionally, also joining the cast is June Diane Raphael, known for supporting roles in “Year One” and “Going the Distance.”

Directed by “American Splendor” helmers Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, “Imogene” also stars Annette Bening and “Glee” star Darren Criss and centers on a New York playwright (Wiig) who stages a fake suicide in a desperate attempt to win back her ex-boyfriend (Criss) and then is forced into the custody of her gambling-addicted mother (Bening).

“It’s kind of about going back home,” Wiig told us earlier this year. “So she finds her life again and gets reintroduced to her family; kind of a coming home story.”

According to the trade, Lyonne will play a Jersey Shore girl named Allyson who works on the boardwalk and is the love interest of another addition to the cast, Christopher Fitzgerald. Michelle Morgan (the upcoming Katherine Heigl flick “Is He the One,” and a remake of 1985’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun“) penned the script and she was named one of Variety’s screenwriters to watch in 2009. The story was then described as a “zany, class-conscious romantic comedy” and is vaguely based on her own experiences when she moved in with her mother after her father died. Lyonne also recently picked up a role in Abel Ferrara‘s “The Last Day on Earth,” which stars Willem Dafoe, so it appears her comeback is slowly moving forward.

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