Steve Coogan And John C. Reilly have been signed to the titular roles of Jon S. Baird’s Stan & Ollie, a look at the later years of early film comedy duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Jeff Pope, who wrote Philomena in which Coogan co-starred, has written the screenplay.
The news happens to coincide with the anniversary of the rotund Oliver Hardy’s birth, which happened on this date in 1892 in Harlem, Georgia.
According to Deadline –
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.
Laurel and Hardy were paired together in 1927 at Hal Roach Studios in the silent short film Putting Pants On Philip. Ultimately the pair would star in 32 silent shorts, 40 short Talkies and 23 full-length feature films.
As both Coogan and Reilly are adapt at both comedy and drama, this is some pretty interesting casting. Their resemblance to the iconic duo is at best passable, perhaps a bit stronger in Coogan’s case than Reilly’s, but I am willing to give that a pass if they manage to capture the spirit and essence of the originals.