The story of legendary comedic duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy will be brought to life on the big screen. Now the film Stan & Ollie, directed by Jon S. Baird (), has found its leading men.
According to Screen Daily, Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly have joined the project. Coogan will portray Laurel, while Reilly plays Hardy in a story about their 1953 comedy tour in Britain. By this time their “golden age” was behind them and their future was uncertain, but they soon reconnected with each other and their fans as they faced their past and Hardy’s failing health.
Writer Jeff Pope, who re-teams with Coogan after penning Philomena, said of the project:
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are my heroes. When I watch their movies, in my head it is forever a Saturday morning and I am 6 years old watching the TV at home utterly spellbound. 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-colored 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.
Pope will also executive produce Stan & Ollie along with Christine Langan and Nichola Martin from BBC Films, and Gabriele Tana from Sonesta Films. Langan, head of BBC Films, continued to say that the involvement of Coogan and Reilly is “dream casting,” while Baird said he also “grew up watching Laurel & Hardy.”
This marks another interesting project for Baird, who helmed an episode of the Mick Jagger-produced, Terrence Winter-created Vinyl for HBO. In addition, he’s working on the script for a crime thriller, Embassy, about the London Iranian Embassy siege in 1980.