Long before #BookTok, Otessa Moshfegh stirred up the literary world with her best-selling novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation. The follow-up to Eileen is about a blasé, angry, and, ultimately, severely depressed unnamed narrator who wishes to reset her life with a year of sleep. When her divine (and dangerous) pharmaceutical cocktail — including, but not limited to Ambien, Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax, Benadryl, and NyQuil — fails to get her the hibernation she craves, she’s introduced to a miracle, non-FDA-approved pill: Infermiterol. It knocks her out for days at a time, which is ideal — until she finds out she’s been going on unconscious benders throughout New York City.
A Moshfegh novel is a hot ticket in both publishing and Hollywood; Eileen’s film adaptation starred Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie, and My Year of Rest and Relaxation has Poor Things director Yorgos Lanthimos attached to the project. While we know Lanthimos is working on a script alongside Moshfegh, updates on the film have been sparse — which opens the door for hyped-up fan-casting theories. Below, NYLON got in on the fun with our dream casting for My Year of Rest and Relaxation.
Narrator: Anya Taylor-Joy or Mia Goth
Beyond being so over her life that she wants to sleep it away, the narrator makes it known that she’s a textbook WASP: tall, blond, thin, and a huge b*tch, with beauty worthy of comparisons to a young Faye Dunaway or Kim Basinger. While Lanthimos’ attachment may mean that his go-to leading lady Emma Stone is up for the gig, Anya Taylor-Joy and Mia Goth both have the striking beauty and captivating presence to play up the narrator’s mix of hostility and misery. Plus, for Taylor-Joy, this would be her second role as a pill-popping fiend after her award-winning performance in The Queen’s Gambit.
Reva: Rachel Sennott
Reva is the narrator’s old college roommate and a huge thorn in her side. She’s one of the few people the narrator has in her orbit — and her only friend. Reva is openly covetous of her life and only mildly aware she’s met with nothing but contempt when she regularly shows up unannounced at the narrator’s Upper East Side apartment. Reva’s on-screen portrayal needs to come from a skillful actor who can highlight the absurdity of her dynamic with the narrator. She needs to have comedy chops! And who’s funnier than Rachel Sennott, the Shiva Baby and Bottoms alum who’s proven she can keep audiences laughing out loud even in the tensest scenes?
Dr. Tuttle: Emma Thompson or Tilda Swinton
Dr. Tuttle is a crucial character in My Year of Rest and Relaxation as the narrator’s comically inept psychiatrist. She’s criminally loose with her prescription pad to the point that it leaves you wondering aloud how she still has a medical license. Whoever plays Dr. Tuttle needs to be capital-W wacky. Emma Thompson or Tilda Swinton have already proven that they can play deranged characters lost in their own minds with their roles in the Harry Potter films and Problemista, respectively, and Dr. Tuttle would make an excellent, frenzied addition to their casting history.
Ping Xi: Steven Yeun
When the narrator finds out that she’s been partying during her Infermiterol blackouts, she recruits Ping Xi, an artist she worked with when she was a gallery girl, to bring her food and makes sure she stays put in exchange for the greenlight to make any kind of art while she’s unconscious. She agrees, even though she knows he leans perverted; when she worked at the gallery, Ping’s exhibition featured him stuffing paint pellets into his penis and masturbating on a canvas. Steven Yeun can adeptly channel Ping’s farcical and self-serious nature. Plus, we need to see him deliver lines about jerking off on a canvas with a straight face.
Trevor: Christopher Abbott
The narrator has an on-again-off-again relationship with Trevor, an older handsome and detached banker at the World Trade Center who barely cares if she lives or dies. He’s always dumping her to date someone his age, only to crawl back when he’s single again — or when she’s pathetically yearning for his attention. Trevor may play a minor role in the book, but his casting needs to be worthy of such a pitiful dating cycle. Christopher Abbott has a natural aloofness that lends well to Trevor — not to mention he’s, for lack of a better word, hot.