Octavia Spencer was virtually unknown until about three months ago, when the actress unexpectedly received heaps of praise for her scene-stealing performance alongside co-stars Emma Stone and Viola Davis in the suprise late-summer blockbuster "The Help". The career heat she gained from her role in the film (which could very well result in a Best Supporting Actress nod at next year's Oscars) now appears to be paying off, as Spencer has just been cast in Academy Award-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody's as-yet-untitled directorial debut (which she also wrote) opposite Julianne Hough and Russell Brand. Spencer will star as a character who becomes an unlikely companion to the film's protagonist, a "sheltered young woman" (Hough) who goes on a trip to Las Vegas after losing her faith following a plane crash. 

Cody's next film is the dramedy "Young Adult", which marks her second collaboration with "Juno" director Jason Reitman. The film stars Charlize Theron and hits theaters on December 16th.

"The Help" exceeded expectations when it opened in August to a strong $26 million weekend and continued to demonstrate impressive holds in subsequent weeks. It now stands at over $166 million in domestic receipts.