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Happiness For Beginners - What We Know So Far

Netflix is adapting Katherine Center's book "Happiness For Beginners" for the small screen, according to The Hollywood Reporter, with Vicky Wight set to direct. It will be Wight's second time adapting Center's work into a film, having directed and produced 2020's "The Lost Husband," which is about a woman who goes to work on her aunt's goat farm to support her children following the death of her husband.

The Irish-born Wight also penned the screenplay for "Happiness For Beginners" and is producing it alongside Geoff Linville, who co-produced the 2021 Academy Award winner for best picture, "Nomadland," and Berry Meyerowitz ("The Survivalist").

Headlining the film is Ellie Kemper, who starred in Netflix's acclaimed comedy series "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" for four seasons and earned two Emmy nominations for outstanding lead actress in a comedy for her role as the escapee of a doomsday cult. Kemper's TV credits are extensive (she's perhaps best known for playing receptionist Erin Hannon on the later seasons of "The Office"), but when it comes to films, she has yet to achieve leading lady status. Here's everything we know so far about "Happiness For Beginners."

When is the release date for Happiness for Beginners?

In September, What's on Netflix reported that Ellie Kemper would star in "Happiness For Beginners" and that filming would begin in late September, with the goal of completing shooting by the end of November. On October 4, other members of the cast were announced via Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter

As of yet, there is no official release date or even a general range of when we could expect to see "Happiness for Beginners" hit the streaming service. Being that filming won't wrap up until near the end of 2021, we definitely won't see it drop on Netflix until at least 2022. While it would still be a tight turnaround, viewers would definitely love to enjoy the romantic comedy around the Valentine's Day season. But any potential release date at this point is pure speculation. 

In the meantime, fans of Kemper can enjoy watching her upcoming Disney+ original film "Home Sweet Home Alone," the latest addition to the "Home Alone" franchise, which is set to premiere on the streaming service on November 12, 2021. 

Who is in the cast of Happiness for Beginners?

In addition to Kemper, Deadline reported several big names have signed on to star in "Happiness For Beginners." One name sure to set hearts aflutter is Luke Grimes, who currently stars as Kayce Dutton on "Yellowstone." His other TV credits include HBO's "True Blood" and ABC's "Brothers & Sisters." Dutton also starred as Christian Grey's (Jamie Dornan) younger brother Elliot, who romances Anastasia Steele's (Dakota Johnson) roommate and best friend Kate in the "50 Shades of Grey" trilogy. Grimes' other film credits include Antoine Fuqua's remake of the classic western "The Magnificent Seven" and "American Sniper" opposite Bradley Cooper. Although Grime's character in "Happiness For Beginners" hasn't been revealed, a good bet is he'll play Kemper's love interest. Can this handsome cowboy display comedic chops?

Nico Santos, who's probably best known for playing Mateo on the comedy series "Superstore" for six seasons, has also been confirmed to appear in the film. His other credits include "Crazy Rich Asians" and "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2." Legendary actress Blythe Danner (mom to Goop founder and Academy Award-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow) will also appear in the Netflix rom-com. Danner's career spans five decades and she received two Emmy nominations for her role as Will Truman's waspy mom Marilyn on "Will & Grace." Her film credits include "Meet the Parents," "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2," and "The Tomorrow Man."

What is the plot of Happiness for Beginners?

In "Happiness For Beginners," Ellie Kemper plays Helen, a woman "who signs up for a wilderness survival course a year after getting divorced. She discovers through this experience that in getting [lost] she has found herself" (per Deadline). "Happiness For Beginners" sounds like it's embracing the familiar fish-out-of-water romantic trope. One thing we know for sure, "Happiness for Beginners" will be more light-hearted than a similar tale of self-reflection, "Wild," which starred Reese Witherspoon on a nature-inspired vision quest of her own.

In Center's book, Helen's younger brother talks her into heading to Wyoming to embark on a survival course along with him and his "annoying" best friend (presumably, Luke Grimes' character). The trip is not at all what Helen expected, and she is forced to endure three weeks in the elements alongside the much-younger group. Naturally, she gets involved in a romantic entanglement, and also learns more about herself along the way.