Laurel & Hardy biopic to star Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly
Screen Daily is reporting that Steve Coogan (Philomena, Alan Partridge) will play Stan Laurel and John C. Reilly (Guardians of the Galaxy, Step Brothers) will portray Oliver Hardy in BBC Films’ Stan & Ollie, a Laurel & Hardy biopic centering on the final 1953 UK tour of the famed comedy duo.
The story centers on Laurel & Hardy, the world’s favorite comedy double act, who set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953. Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future.
As they set out, crisscrossing the country, attendances are disappointingly low. But they’ve always been able to make each other laugh and as the charm and beauty of their performances shines through their audiences laugh too, and they re-connect with legions of adoring fans, old and new.
The tour becomes a hit, but Laurel & Hardy can’t quite shake the spectre of Stan and Ollie’s past; and long buried ghosts, coupled with Oliver’s failing health, start to threaten their precious partnership. A portrait of their creative marriage begins to unfold as the duo, aware that they may be approaching their swan song, try to rediscover just how much they mean to each other.
To be directed by Jon S. Baird (Filth), the screenplay for the Laurel & Hardy biopic has been written Jeff Pope, the Oscar-nominated writer of Philomena. BBC Films developed the feature alongside Faye Ward’s Fable Pictures and Jeff Pope’s Sonesta Films.
“When I watch their movies, in my head it is forever a Saturday morning and I am six years old watching the TV at home utterly spellbound,” said Pope. “I am aware of the huge responsibility of bringing their characters to life, but I have not treated the boys with kid gloves or looked at them through rose coloured specs. They are living and breathing characters, with flaws and shortcomings. The research into this story threw up so many details and facts that I had no idea about. But everything I have done has come from a place of love and more than anything else I hope this shines through.”
Executive producers are Christine Langan and Nichola Martin for BBC Films, Jeff Pope for Sonesta Films and Gabrielle Tana.
(Photo credit: WENN.com)