Kate Hudson Gushes Over 'Shriver' Costar Michael Shannon in First Look at Their Upcoming Comedy

Kate Hudson and Michael Shannon star in this comedy of mistaken identity

See Kate Hudson and Michael Shannon in the First Look for Comedy Shriver
Kate Hudson and Michael Shannon in a PEOPLE exclusive first look at Shriver. Photo: Suzanne England

Kate Hudson and Michael Shannon are teaming up for a new comedy.

In a PEOPLE exclusive first look at Shriver, sparks fly between Hudson's and Shannon's characters in the film about a New York handyman, Shriver (Shannon), who is mistaken for a famous reclusive author with whom he shares a name.

Shriver accepts an invitation to attend a university writer's festival to deliver a keynote address where he meets Hudson's Simone Cleary, an English professor. Shriver plays a dicey game as feelings bubble between the two as he continues to pretend to be the author she believes him to be.

The comedy — written and directed by Michael Maren, and based on a novel of the same name by Chris Belden — also co-stars Don Johnson, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Jimmi Simpson, Zach Braff and Aja Naomi King. It was produced by Jina Panebianco and producing partner Robert Ogden Barnum at CaliWood Pictures.

Hudson tells PEOPLE she was drawn to the project because of the starry cast.

"I'd been a fan of Michael Shannon's work for some time," Hudson shares with PEOPLE. "I was very excited to have the opportunity to work with him. Don Johnson is a legend and an old family friend, so I was very excited to be working with him. And having worked with Zach Braff in the past, I just knew I was going to be so much fun! I'm an avid reader, and at the core of this quirky, little film about writers is the story of the simple, human connections that we all seek."

"The COVID pandemic shut down production just one week before we wrapped, so waiting well over a year to reconnect with everyone and finally finish the film made this an experience that I will always remember," she adds.

The movie was a labor of love for the cast and crew and, in particular, for writer/director Maren, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 after casting Shannon, 46.

After overcoming cancer, Maren met Hudson, 42, who boarded the movie. The team spent three weeks filming in 2020 until COVID-19 halted production for 400 days.

Despite the hurdles, Maren tells PEOPLE his favorite part of making the movie was "to be able to work with this incredible cast" which he says "was a dream come true."

Having to halt production due to the pandemic "felt like a crushing blow," he adds.

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"But a year later the spirit with which everyone came back together to complete this film was nothing short of inspiring," he says. "Watching Mike and Kate bring their characters to life while creating some really powerful on-screen chemistry is any director's dream."

As for what resonated with him about the movie, Maren says, "I think imposter syndrome is something that most of us feel at some point in our lives. It felt like a fresh subject for dramatic and comedic exploration."

Shriver is based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Chris Belden.

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