The BFI London Film Festival has set Laurel and Hardy biopic “Stan & Ollie” as its closing night gala. The film, which stars Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as the iconic comedy duo, will receive its world premiere Oct. 21 at the 62nd edition of the festival.
“Stan & Ollie” tells the true story of the legendary double act, focusing on their journey around Britain and Ireland in what would become the pair’s triumphant farewell tour. Despite the pressure of a hectic schedule, the pair’s love of performing, as well as love for each other and support from their wives, endures as they secure their place in the hearts of their fans. Shirley Henderson and Nina Arianda co-star as Lucille Hardy and Ida Laurel, respectively, while Danny Huston plays comedy film pioneer Hal Roach.
“We’re delighted to be closing the BFI London Film Festival with this beautiful tribute to cinema’s early comedy odd couple, Laurel and Hardy,” said the festival’s artistic director, Tricia Tuttle. “A truly funny and touching story about a tender lifelong friendship, Jon Baird’s film is also a must for movie fans, exploring the twilight years of two megawatt performers who had a meteoric rise to fame. These two prove that true comic timing is eternal, and it’s a perfect end to the festival.”
The film will also receive simultaneous preview screenings across the U.K. alongside the festival premiere via distributor eOne. It is scheduled for general release in Britain through eOne on Jan. 11, 2019.
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“Stan & Ollie” is directed by Jon S. Baird (“Filth”) and written by Jeff Pope, who won a BAFTA and was Oscar-nominated alongside Coogan for his adapted screenplay for 2013’s “Philomena.” It is produced by Faye Ward.
As previously announced, this year’s London Film Festival will open with the European premiere of Steve McQueen’s “Widows,” starring Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Elizabeth Debicki and Daniel Kaluuya. The heist thriller will have its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September.
The 62nd London Film Festival runs Oct. 10-21. The full program will be announced Aug. 30.