At long last, the first photo has been released of Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel alongside Guardians of the Galaxy actor John C Reilly, who plays Oliver Hardy in the upcoming biographical feature film, Stan & Ollie. Developed by BBC Films and based on the lives of the comedy double act Laurel and Hardy, the film has been tapped to close the 62nd BFI London Film Festival on 21 October. The former digital radio host has abandoned, for the time being at least, his roots as a disc jockey on North Norfolk Digital radio’s 4th best time slot to portray one half of legendary comedy duo.
The duo earned their places as all-time comedy greats by starring in more than 100 films together from the 1920s to the 1950s. Written by Jeff Pope, who wrote 2013’s Oscar-nominated Philomena with Coogan, Stan & Ollie is described as a “heart-warming story” that follows the pair on their “triumphant” final variety hall tour of the UK and Ireland in 1953. While the now legendary tour becomes a hit, Arthur Stanley Jefferson (Stan) and Norvell Hardy (Ollie) 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.
Stan & Ollie will be released in the UK on 11 January 2019. No word yet as to a U.S. release.