Paradise - Diablo Cody (header)

Diablo Cody has written some of the sharpest female-led dramedies of the past several years, and now she’s taken the next step by helming her own.

The Juno scribe makes her feature directing debut this fall with Paradise, a comedy about a sheltered young woman (Julianne Hough) taking a walk on the wild side. Octavia Spencer, Russell Brand, Nick Offerman, and Holly Hunter also star. Check out the first pics after the jump.

Formerly titled Lamb of God, the script, which Cody also wrote, centers on a young woman named Lamb (Hough) from an extremely religious Montana community. A terrible accident leaves her with severe burns all over her body. While she eventually recovers physically, she finds herself shaken spiritually.

After ranting at her congregation, she skips to Las Vegas to indulge in some of the sinful pastimes she was always warned against, like drinking, dancing, and listening to pop music. “She is so naive that some of the shocking things she does we all would do on a Friday night,” Cody explained to USA Today.

A couple of friendly bartenders (Brand and Spencer) take her under their wing. Offerman and Hunter play Lamb’s well-meaning but overprotective parents. You can see all five of the stars in the images below.

(As a side note, I like to think that Spencer’s blue streaks are also a reminder of a horrible kaiju attack that slaughtered her family. Hey, I haven’t seen this movie yet — who knows?)

Cody explained to the publication that she wanted her film to have a hopeful tone. “If you have ever been through something incredibly difficult such as [Lamb's injury], you know it’s hard to stay positive and not surrender to cynicism completely,” she said. “I wanted to make a non-cynical movie that would inspire positivity.”

That sounds more to me like the warm-hearted Juno than the darker, more biting Young Adult or Jennifer’s Body. Which could be a promising sign, as Juno won Cody the Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 2008.

Paradise opens October 18, 2013.

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