Kathy Bates and John Malkovich are to lead the cast of feature ‘Thelma’, directed by Ken Kwapis (#BlackAFThe Office).

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Lewis Pullman has also joined the cast.

The film will tell the true story of the mother of John Kennedy Toole (Pullman), the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Confederacy of Dunces. Toole died by suicide before finding a home for his masterpiece, and his mother Thelma (Bates) made it her life’s mission, through outrageous gamesmanship, to see the book published. She eventually succeeded in getting the manuscript into the hands of writer Walker Percy (Malkovich), who became the novel’s champion. It would be published in 1980, eleven years after Ken’s death, thereafter becoming a widely celebrated cult classic.

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Scribe Andrew Farotte penned the original screenplay. Steven P. Wegner (Blade Runner 2049The Blind Side) and Filmula’s Johnny Lin (American MadeBernie) are producing the feature.

“Thelma Toole is one of the most audacious characters I’ve ever encountered, and I can imagine no one better to bring her tenacity to life than Kathy Bates,” said Kwapis. “With rising star Lewis Pullman in the role of her gifted, if doomed, son and John Malkovich playing literary legend Walker Percy, I feel we’re putting together a real confederacy of brilliance.”