Tony Award nominee John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan will star in a forthcoming new movie, "Stan & Ollie" which will trace the comedy team's late-career stage work, according to Deadline.
Directed by John S. Baird, the movie will have a script by Jeff Pope ("Philomena") .
Stan Laurel (Coogan) started his career in a touring British Music Hall troupe in the 1910s, as understudy to another future film star, Charlie Chaplin. Laurel met Oliver Hardy (Reilly) while making silent films later that same decade. As a comedy duo, Laurel & Hardy made more than 100 short films and several features, notably "Babes in Toyland," later broadcast on TV as "The March of the Wooden Soldiers."
With their film career in decline in the 1950s, the pair took to the stage for a tour of Britain and the European continent. It is this latter period that is dealt with in the forthcoming movie bio. After Hardy died in 1957, Laurel retired from performing. He passed away in 1965.
Deadline reported, "As they set out, crisscrossing the country, attendances are disappointingly low. But they’ve always been able to make each other laugh and as the charm and beauty of their performances shines through their audiences laugh too, and they re-connect with legions of adoring fans, old and new. The tour becomes a hit, but Laurel & Hardy can’t quite shake the spectre of Stan and Ollie’s past; and long buried ghosts, coupled with Oliver’s failing health, start to threaten their precious partnership. A portrait of the most tender and poignant of creative marriages begins to unfold as the duo, aware that they may be approaching their swan song, try to rediscover just how much they mean to each other."
No release date has been set for "Stan & Ollie," which takes its title from the onscreen nicknames.
Reilly appeared on Broadway in The Grapes of Wrath, A Streetcar Named Desire, and the 2000 production of True West, which earned him a Tony nomination as Best Actor in a Play.
With a script developed by BBC Films, "Stan & Ollie" will be produced by Faye Ward (Fable Pictures) and Pope (Sonesta Films).