John P. Johnson/HBO
Nuzhat Naoreen
May 17, 2013 AT 09:04 PM EDT

Recognize the guy on the right?

That’s a virtually unrecognizable Larry David in the new HBO movie Clear History (due in August). David stars as Nathan, a hipster marketing exec who sells all his shares at a start-up over a fight with his boss (Jon Hamm, left), only to miss out on billions when the company’s new product—an electric car—becomes a smashing success.

“It ruins his life,” says director Greg Mottola (Superbad), who explains that the comedy then picks up a decade after a humiliated Nathan changes his name and goes incognito.

The movie—which also stars Bill Hader, Kate Hudson, Eva Mendes, Danny McBride, Michael Keaton and more—was almost entirely improvised. “It’s all about capturing spontaneity,” says Mottola, who adds that the film is loosely based on the tribulations of an Apple employee mentioned in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs book. “The lightning in a bottle stuff that if you have really fun people happens more than you expect.”

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