The “Spotlight” distrib will co-finance the project with BBC Films and will handle sales and distribute in its territories.
Pic is produced by Fable Pictures, the relatively new banner from Brit producer Faye Ward (“Suffragette”), and is penned by “Philomena’s” Jeff Pope, while “Filth” helmer Jon S. Baird is set to direct.
The story centers on much-loved comedy duo Laurel and Hardy and their legendary 1953 variety hall tour of Blighty. As they set out, crisscrossing the country, attendance was disappointingly low, but they always managed to make each other laugh and charm their auds. Eventually, the tour becomes a hit, but the duo can’t quite shake the spectre of Stan and Ollie’s long buried ghosts, coupled with Oliver’s failing health, and their precious partnership begins to feel threatened.
“We were immediately drawn to Jeff’s engaging script, and we are excited to have director Jon S. Baird, Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly all on board to bring it to life,” said Xavier Marchand, prexy of eOne Features.
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Ward added that eOne “really understands Laurel and Hardy’s special legacy and the privilege and challenges of telling this story.”
Rights to the work of Laurel and Hardy have been licensed by Larry Harmon Pictures Corp.
BBC Films’ Christine Langan and Nichola Martin will exec produce as well as Pope for Sonesta Films.
As part of a recently secured partnership with Sierra Pictures in advance of Berlinale this year, the international sales and distribution of pics produced and acquired by eOne Features will be handled by Sierra/Affinity outside of territories where eOne directly distributes films.
eOne shuttered its international sales operation in January this year.