Stan & Ollie, the Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly-starring biopic of one of Hollywood’s greatest double acts, Laurel and Hardy, is to get its world premiere as the closing-night film of this year’s BFI London Film Festival.
The film, directed by Jon S. Baird (Filth, Babylon), will close the curtain on the 62nd edition of the festival on Oct. 21, organizers unveiled on Friday.
Written by Jeff Pope (Philomena), Stan & Ollie tells the story of Laurel and Hardy as they journey around the U.K. and Ireland in what would become the pair’s triumphant farewell tour. Despite the pressure of a hectic schedule, with the support of their wives Lucille (Shirley Henderson) and Ida (Nina Arianda) — a formidable double act in their own right — the pair’s love of performing, as well as love for each other, endures as they secure their place in the hearts of their adoring public.
“A truly funny and touching story about a tender life-long friendship, Jon Baird’s film is also a must for movie fans, exploring the twilight years of two mega-watt performers who had a meteoric rise to fame,” said London Film Festival artistic director Tricia Tuttle.
“I’m really proud to be able to give the film its world premiere in London; a city that’s so dear to myself and I know was to Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy,” said Baird. “Stan & Ollie, at its heart, is a love story between old friends, who just happen to be two of the most iconic comedic characters in Hollywood’s history.”
Entertainment One, the producer of the film, will be releasing Stan & Ollie in the U.K. on Jan. 11.
The announcement follows the unveiling last month of Widows, the Steve McQueen thriller, as the opening-night film.
The London Film Festival is set to run Oct. 10-Oct. 21. The full program will be unveiled on Aug. 30.