Gandolfini, Coogan join ‘Loop’

Armando Iannucci makes directorial debut

LONDON — James Gandolfini, Steve Coogan and Tom Hollander have joined the cast of Brit satirist Armando Iannucci’s feature directorial debut “In the Loop.”

Pic, which also stars Chris Addison, Peter Capaldi and Gina McKee, is a black comedy about the attempts by a U.S. general, played by Gandolfini, and British politico, played by Hollander, to stop the U.S. president and British prime minister from launching an ill-advised war.

BBC Films, the U.K. Film Council and Aramid Entertainment are producing with sales outfit Protagonist Pictures, the joint venture launched by Film4, Vertigo Films and financier Ingenious Media earlier this year, handling worldwide sales.

Brit distrib Optimum Releasing has already snapped the U.K. theatrical rights.

Principal photography began Thursday. Lensing will take place on location in London, Washington D.C. and New York.

Iannucci is best known in Blighty for his politically biting work on TV skeins such as “The Thick of it” and “The Day Today.” He was also one of the creative brains, along with Steve Coogan, behind the hit Brit laffer “Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge.”

“We hope that ‘In the Loop’ will make you cry with laughter — and possibly fear — as it takes you behind the scenes in the heart of the global political village,” said producer Kevin Loader.