Deadline Hollywood: Here’s a mouth-watering development: Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly have come on-board Jon S. Baird’s Stan & Ollie to star as comic geniuses Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy respectively. The inspired casting will see Coogan and Reilly portraying both the highs and lows of the iconic Laurel & Hardy, one of comedy’s all-time great double acts.
Faye Ward’s Fable Pictures will produce the film, which was developed by BBC Films. Penned by award-winning screenwriter Jeff Pope (Philomena) whose Sonesa Films banner is also on-board to produce, and directed by Jon S. Baird (Vinyl, Filth), Stan & Ollie celebrates the duo’s unique friendship and legendary working partnership. In a major coup for producer Faye Ward and her relatively new banner Fable Pictures, the rights to the work of Laurel and Hardy has been licensed by Larry Harmon Pictures Corporation.
The film will focus on the now-legendary 1953 tour embarked on by the ageing duo. Once the world’s favourite comedy double act, but now diminished by age and their golden era a distant memory, Laurel & Hardy set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953. 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 the most tender and poignant of creative marriages 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.