Story of Danny La Rue set for bigscreen

LONDON — Leopardrama, the fiction arm of London and New York-based Argonon, is bolstering its film slate with a new title about Brit female impersonator and entertainer Danny La Rue.

Pic, which has development funding from the British Film Institute, is being penned by Martyn Hesford, who wrote the BBC’s “Fantabulosa,” based on the life of British comic actor Kenneth Williams, and an adaptation of “The Old Curiosity Shop” for commercial network ITV.

Leopardrama is talking to helmers and thesps.

La Rue made a career out of his comic vaudeville drag act, rising to fame in the 1960s through celebrity impersonations of Elizabeth Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor. He hosted his own TV series, broke records with his weekly Saturday night live show from the London Palladium and featured in theater productions in London’s West End such as “Oh, What a Lovely War” and “Hello, Dolly.”

But behind La Rue’s public persona, he lived in a web of relationships that included his manager and lover Jack Hanson and his devoted female costume designer, Annie Galbraith.

“Danny’s life is such a fascinating story because he was a pioneer and he blurred boundaries of sex and taste,” Argonon CEO James Burstall told Variety.

Leopardrama exec producer Joey Attawia said, “Danny was a ground-breaking entertainer and a vital part of contemporary British popular history, which until now has been overlooked. We’re thrilled to have signed agreements with Annie Galbraith and other key intimates of Danny to bring this funny, moving and complex story to life.”

Leopardrama is also developing Terence Davies’ next film, an adaptation of Richard McCann’s tome “Mother of Sorrows.”

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