Laurel and Hardy

Coogan And Reilly To Play Laurel And Hardy

Steve Coogan and John C Reilly are to play famous comedy duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in a new British film.

The actors will appear in Stan & Ollie which will focus on the ageing vaudeville stars’ 1953 tour of Britain’s variety halls.

Jeff Pope, who collaborated with Coogan to write 2013’s award-winning Philomena, said: “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 six 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 coloured specs.”

The pair embarked on the tour as their popularity waned and their personal lives were hit by acrimonious divorces and ill health.

Hardy suffered a heart attack during the tour and was unable to continue. He died in 1957 aged 65.

The film will be produced by Faye Ward, who produced Suffragette with Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep last year.

“I feel privileged to have been entrusted to bring to screen the magnificent lives and work of comedy legends, Laurel and Hardy.

“It is incredibly exciting to be working with such a fantastic and collaborative team. Steve and John are a dream partnership and with Jon directing Jeff’s moving and affectionate screenplay, I know this will be a film to treasure for fans both old and new.”

Jon S Baird who made Filth, starring James McAvoy, is directing the project.

Englishman Laurel entered the world of theatre aged 16, and set sail for America a few years later on the same ship as Charlie Chaplin with the aim of appearing in films.

Laurel and Hardy both had successful film careers separately but became a comedy team in 1926.

They went on to make over 100 films and inspired a new generation of comedy acts.

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