Callum Turner and Alia Shawkat have joined the cast of the Luca Guadagnino-produced feature ‘Atropia.’

Based on Hailey Gates’ 2019 short ‘Shako Mako’ which she originally produced for fashion brand Miu Miu’s Women’s Tales series, the feature follows the story of an aspiring actress who is working on a U.S. military training base simulating an Iraqi war zone. (“Atropia” is the name of a fake country reportedly invented by the American military for interactive training exercises).

The short’s synopsis reads “Farah, a bread seller, walks the streets of a Middle Eastern town, while an American military vehicle, surrounded by soldiers, slowly passes by, A moment’s silence. Then, a devastating explosion. Civilians are bloodied and wounded. The horrors of war. ‘Farah’ looks around aghast and wailing.”

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“But nothing here is quite what it seems. In fact, ‘Farah’ is a character played by an aspiring actress called Laila. And this isn’t Iraq, but a replica village erected on the Fort Irwin army base in California used to train American troops before being sent abroad. Laila believes her acting talents are being wasted away in this arid simulation, where female role-players are limited to mute, background roles. She takes things much more seriously. Laila plots her way out.”

Gates makes her feature directorial debut on the project. Shawkat reprises her role as Laila.