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Vanessa Hudgens Takes Lily Rabe Out on the Town in “Downtown Owl” Trailer (Exclusive)

‘Downtown Owl’ is the directorial debut of star Lily Rabe and her longtime partner Hamish Linklater

Lily Rabe takes a small town by storm, with the help of Vanessa Hudgens, in the upcoming Downtown Owl.

The new movie (available to buy or rent on digital April 23) marks the American Horror Story star’s directorial debut alongside longtime boyfriend and Midnight Mass star Hamish Linklater, who adapted the screenplay from Chuck Klosterman’s 2008 novel of the same name.

PEOPLE has the exclusive first look at Sony Pictures Entertainment’s “Great Plains dark dramedy” Downtown Owl, which costars Ed Harris, August Blanco Rosenstein, Jack Dylan Grazer, Arianna Jaffier, Finn Wittrock and Henry Golding.

Rabe plays Julia, a woman retreating to an 800-strong town of Owl, North Dakota in 1983. “You’re back in high school now,” Hudgens’ outgoing character Naomi tells Julia in the trailer. “And everyone’s looking at you through homecoming glasses.”

Related: Lily Rabe Says Kids Help Her ‘Come Back to Present’ After Filming: 'That’s What I Go To’ (Exclusive)

<p>sony pictures</p> Vanessa Hudgens and Lily Rabe in "Downtown Owl"

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Vanessa Hudgens and Lily Rabe in "Downtown Owl"

She urges Julia to let her hair down for a night on the — small — town. “Wear your least comfortable bra,” she advises.

Julia is “searching for a break from her cosmopolitan life in Milwaukee,” per the movie’s official synopsis. After arriving to teach high school for a semester in “the close-knit Reagan-era town of Owl,” it continues, “the small town turns out to be a wonderland of second-string poets, smoldering Marlboro Men, and a social hierarchy that echoes high school.”

The synopsis adds, “Julia doesn’t know if she’s come to town to get away from home or to find it.”

<p>sony pictures</p> Behind the scenes of "Downtown Owl"

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Behind the scenes of "Downtown Owl"

In the trailer, Rabe can be seen partying with Hudgens at the town’s local bar Hugo’s, asking Harris for guidance, and getting snowed into her car in North Dakota’s harsh winters.

“Pretty much everyone advises against making a movie with the parent of your children, especially your first movie, especially when the newest child is a newborn,” Rabe, 41, and Linklater, 47, tell PEOPLE in a statement. The couple, who have been dating since around 2016, share three children together.

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<p>sony pictures</p> Lily Rabe in "Downtown Owl"

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Lily Rabe in "Downtown Owl"

“But making Owl was so rewarding, and we hope audiences have as exhilarating an experience watching it as we had working on it together,” they add.

The filmmaking duo also call the movie’s cast “all such elite talents and humans” who “just dropped from heaven into our prairie badlands.”

Related: Zach Braff and Vanessa Hudgens Navigate an Awkward Love Triangle in French Girl Trailer (Exclusive)

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The film includes “an undeniable soundtrack by T Bone Burnett,” they add, and features songs from Elvis Costello, Margo Price, Charley Crockett and more. 

Among Rabe's upcoming projects is the Jessica Lange movie Places, Please. Linklater plays President Abraham Lincoln in the Apple TV series Manhunt.

Downtown Owl is available to buy or rent on digital April 23. 

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