Natasha Lyonne, Alia Shawkat to Develop Iraqi Immigrant Comedy “Desert People” for Amazon

Alia Shawkat at the Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominee Brunch in 2018. Photo by Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (9308825df)

Natasha Lyonne and Alia Shawkat are developing a half-hour Iraqi immigrant comedy titled Desert People at Amazon.

The series will follow an Iraqi immigrant family who runs a gentleman’s club in Palm Springs. Shawkat is set to star as the parents’ adult daughter living in LA as a first-generation American, who’s figuring out her identity and sexuality.

Desert People is co-created by Shawkat and Lyonne. Shawkat will also write, and she and Lyonne will serve as executive producers with Maya Rudolph, Danielle Renfrew Behrens, and Dianne McGunigle. 

If the project gets the green light, it will be Shawkat’s first series writing credit. She wrote the 2018 feature Duck Butter, which she also starred in. The actress is best known for her roles in Arrested Development and Search Party.

Lyonne is currently working on the animated comedy The Hospital at Amazon and she co-created and starred in Netflix’s Russian Doll. She’s best known for her role in Orange Is the New Black, Slums of Beverly Hills, and But I’m a Cheerleader.