Berlin: eOne Jumps Aboard Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly's 'Stan & Ollie' Biopic

Steve Coogan - H 2014
AP Images/Invision

Steve Coogan - H 2014

eOne will co-finance the project with BBC Films and will distribute in its territories.

eOne has boarded one of the European Film Market's hot new titles, agreeing with BBC Films to co-finance Laurel and Hardy biopic Stan & Ollie, starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly. The Canadian banner — which also landed U.K. rights to arguably EFM's hottest project, George Clooney's Suburbicon — will distribute Stan & Ollie in its territories.

Announced last month, the film is being produced by Fable Pictures and Sonesta Films and is described as an "emotional tribute to two of the funniest men in movie history," focusing on their tour of the variety halls of the U.K. as aging stars in 1953. The now-famous tour saw Laurel and Hardy set out "with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them." Despite initially disappointing attendance, the shows would soon become hits, with the twosome reconnecting with fans, old and new, while rediscovering how much they meant to each other as they came to terms with the end of their careers.

Written by Jeff Pope, who reunites with his Philomena co-writer Coogan, Stan & Ollie will be directed by Jon S. Baird, who helmed the 2013 Scottish comedy-crime drama Filth, starring James McAvoy. The biopic also marks the first feature from U.K. upstart Fable Pictures, set up by Suffragette producer Faye Ward, who also is a producer on Netflix's upcoming British royal drama series The Crown.

“We are thrilled to be teaming up with Faye Ward and BBC Films on this endearing film," said Xavier Marchand, president of eOne Features. "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."

Coogan is on a roll at the moment, with Shepherds & Butchers screening in the Berlinale's Panorama section and new projects including the dramedy An Ideal Home alongside Paul Rudd, the Richard Gere-starring Dinner and R-rated animation Adventures of Drunky.