“The Personal History of David Copperfield” sees Dev Patel (pictured) star as the eponymous protagonist, heading an all-star ensemble that includes Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw, Aneurin Barnard, Morfydd Clark, Anthony Welsh and Rosalind Eleazar.
“I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Lionsgate in the U.K. to be making this wonderful story about poverty and riches, and friendship and loss,” said Iannucci. “With such an amazing and immense cast, ‘David Copperfield’ is the ‘Infinity War’ of the 1840s.”
The story chronicles the life of Dickens’ semi-autobiographical character as he navigates a chaotic world to find his elusive place within it, from his unhappy childhood to the discovery of his gift as a storyteller and writer. The film is expected to begin shooting in the U.K. in June.
“The combination of Armando’s writing and directing and the source material of a classical masterpiece is a project that is irresistible to us,” said Lionsgate U.K. CEO Zygi Kamasa.
“The Personal History of David Copperfield” is produced by Iannucci and Kevin Loader. Iannucci co-wrote the adaptation with his regular collaborator, Simon Blackwell. The director said he was pleased to be reuniting “with many of the talented crew” behind his recent film “The Death of Stalin,” including cinematographer Zac Nicholson.
“David Copperfield” marks Iannucci’s third feature after “In the Loop” and “The Death of Stalin,” and the first distributed in the U.K. by Lionsgate. “The Death of Stalin,” which was released by eOne, grossed £5.2 million ($6.9 million) following its release in October last year. Lionsgate released Mike Newell’s adaptation of Dickens’ “Great Expectations” in the U.K. in 2012, which took in £2.5 million ($4.1 million) at the British box office.
FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales on “The Personal History of David Copperfield” and co-represents U.S. sales with UTA Independent Film Group.