EXCLUSIVE: Adeel Akhtar, a rising star in both the comedy and dramatic worlds, has boarded the cast of The Big Sick opposite stand-up comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley). Also starring in the comedy produced by Judd Apatow and Barry Mendel are Holly Hunter, Ray Romano and Zoe Kazan. Glen Basner’s FilmNation is fully financing and handling international sales on the picture, with Apatow and Mendel producing through Apatow Productions (Trainwreck, This Is 40, Bridesmaids).

Based on true events in the lives of Nanjiani and his wife, writer-producer Emily V. Gordon, The Big Sick follows a couple dealing with their cultural differences as their relationship grows. Nanjiani and Gordon wrote the script. Michael Showalter, who helmed last year’s SXSW Audience Award winner Hello My Name Is Doris starring Sally Field, is directing.

Akhtar will play the role of Nanjiani’s brother and confidant. The actor is coming off a well-received dramatic turn in the hit AMC-BBC adaptation of John le Carre’s The Night Manager. His credits include turns in Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator, Chris Morris’ Four Lions, and most recently in Joe Wright’s Pan. He also was nominated for a BAFTA for his role in the cult classic series Utopia.

He is repped by Aileen McEwan at Hatton McEwan Penford, Grandview and attorney Isaac Dunham.

UTA packaged the film and will handle U.S. rights.