In the early days of Hollywood, acts like Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s madcap mayhem found themselves translating from the stages of Vaudeville to the soundstages of the motion pictures. But as the years went on, and screen comedy evolved, it was back to the stage for Laurel and Hardy, as they would go on to tour across the US and in the UK after World War II. Now, a film chronicling one such tour is being made, and two perfect candidates have been cast as the legendary comedic duo.
None other than Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly have been cast to play Laurel and Hardy, respectively, in the upcoming film Stan & Ollie. According to a recent item from Variety, the film will focus on one of those UK tours they embarked on together. The film’s focus will be on the 1953 tour that Laurel and Hardy engaged in, and tackling writing duties for the film will be Coogan’s Philomena co-writer Jeff Pope.
Stan & Ollie will focus on the downturn of the legendary double act’s career, as their 1953 tour was met with shrinking crowds and waning interest. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Oliver Hardy’s health was on the decline at this point in his life, and the pair were facing the prospect of splitting up for the first time. So while this project will require its fair share of laughs, it will also focus on the sobering reality of the two comedians’ careers. Thankfully, with Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly being cast as Laurel and Hardy, audiences can rest assured that not only is the comedic portion of the film in the right hands, but the dramatic portion is just as well cared for.
Jeff Pope is equipped to handle both sides of Stan & Ollie, as he and Coogan did a spectacular job of doing so on their 2013 screenplay to Philomena, which was nominated for four Academy Awards the following year – including nods for the Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay honors. With Pope setting to tell the true story of the classic antics of Laurel and Hardy, and with both Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly being Oscar nominees themselves, there’s no shortage of golden tinted talent on this film, which will naturally have folks buzzing about its awards potential upon its release.
A film chronicling Laurel and Hardy’s story is any comedy aficionado’s dream, as their legend has only endured as the decades have passed. But while fans are ready to relive some of their favorite memories from the act’s repertoire, they’ll also be pleased to learn a little more about the more personal side to the funnymen they admire. There is no production schedule or release date in mind yet for Stan & Ollie, so we’ll be keeping a close eye out for any further updates as they happen.