Laura Dern and Will Ferrell sign on for real-life embezzlement tale

The script had initially landed on The Black List.

Laura Dern is teaming up with Will Ferrell to play a real-life couple involved in an embezzlement scandal at a famous fruitcake company.

The actors will play Kay and Sandy Jenkins, who used Sandy's job as an accountant to steal nearly $17 million (£13.2 million) from bosses at the family-owned Collin Street Bakery, based in Corsicana, Texas.

Their scheme was only discovered in 2013, eight years after Sandy began forging cheques on the company accounts to pay his own family bills and support a lavish lifestyle, which included taking trips on private jets, splurging on expensive jewellery, and buying a second home in New Mexico.

Sandy ended up receiving a 10-year sentence for money laundering and fraud charges in 2015, while his wife Kay was ordered to spend five years on probation.

The story has been adapted for the big screen by Trey Selman, whose work initially ended up on The Black List, an annual survey of top screenplays not yet picked up for production.

Titled Fruitcake, the project caught the attention of Dern and filmmaker Max Winkler, who is now attached to direct the movie.

"Trey's writing is original and dynamic and unlike any I've read before," Winkler shares in a statement to Deadline, "and I'm deeply excited to help tell this story along with two of my favourite actors working today."

The Big Little Lies star will co-produce Fruitcake, while Collin Street Bakery president and CEO Bob McNutt has also signed on as an executive producer.

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