Jennifer Garner has signed on to star in Mandate's recent pickup of Butter, an original comedy screenplay from rookie scribe Jason Micallef. She will potentially produce along with Michael De Luca.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Micallef scored the one-two punch of winning a Nicholl Fellowship and landing the third slot on the unofficial Black List of 2008 with his political satire set in the small-town world of competitive butter-sculpting.

De Luca Prods. exec Alissa Phillips brought De Luca the script, and Garner and Juliana Janes of Vandalia Films are in negotiations to serve in some producing capacity.

Craig Gillespie and Gary Ross are among the directors circling the project.

Butter follows a young orphan who, after being adopted by a Midwestern family, discovers she has an uncanny talent for butter-carving. She eventually finds herself up against the ambitious wife of the retired reigning champion in a town's annual butter-sculpting contest.

"I wanted to do a political satire," Micallef said, "and I was looking for some venue that people take very seriously but is also ridiculous -- like politics -- but at the same time is really visual."

No production date has been set.

Cinemark Movie Club