EXCLUSIVE: In his first film lead since his breakout turn in the HBO series Girls, Adam Driver has signed on to play the lead role in Coward, a period comedy feature that will be directed by Max Winkler. Winkler wrote the script with Matt Spicer, based on a play by Nick Jones that was produced for Lincoln Center’s LCT3. Big Beach is financing.

The comedy takes place in 18th century England and is considered a match between Barry Lyndon and Trading Places. Driver plays Lucidus, a nobleman who hails from a family with a track record of men who came out on the losing end of to-the-death duels. When Lucidus is challenged to trade pistol shots, he panics and hires a common criminal to take his place in the duel. Trouble is, that criminal decides the life of a nobleman is a step up and he steals his employer’s identity.

Big Beach’s Peter Saraf and Marc Turtletaub are producing with Ravi Nandan and Scott Armstrong of American Work.

Driver, who took this movie over several other offers — goes to show you that even though I don’t quite get Dunham’s Girls, a lotta people do — most recently was seen in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, stars in the Joel and Ethan Coen-directed Inside Llewyn Davis, and is shooting the John Curran-directed Tracks. He’s repped by Gersh, Winkler is repped by CAA and Management 360, Spicer by CAA and Jones by UTA.