Fox Searchlight Nabs Armando Iannucci's 'The Personal History of David Copperfield'

Dev Patel stars in the 'Veep' creator's take on the Charles Dickens classic.

Fox Searchlight Pictures has acquired the North American rights to Armando Iannucci's The Personal History of David Copperfield, starring Dev Patel.

The film will have its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and open the BFI London Film Festival in October, ahead of a theatrical release in 2020.

Veep creator Iannucci's third feature following The Death of Stalin and In the Loop, The Personal History of David Copperfield is his take on the Charles Dickens classic, which also stars Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi and Ben Whishaw.

"Armando Iannucci is a wonderfully original filmmaker and expert storyteller. He brings his irreverent and imaginative take to this iconic and beloved story," said Fox Searchlight heads Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula in a statement.

Adapted by Iannucci alongside frequent collaborator Simon Blackwell, the comedic tale centers on one of Dickens' most cherished characters: the good-hearted David Copperfield, who is surrounded by kindness, wickedness, poverty and wealth as he meets an array of remarkable characters in Victorian England. David sets out to be a writer in his quest for family, friendship, romance and status as the story of his life unfolds. 

The film is produced by Iannucci and Kevin Loader and was financed by FilmNation Entertainment and Film4.

“We are so pleased that Fox Searchlight’s early enthusiasm for this movie has paid off, and we’re excited by their plans to bring it to as wide an audience as possible in North America. We’re all proud of this film, and with Fox Searchlight, we have the right fit: we can’t wait to get started,” said Iannucci and Loader in their own statement.

FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales. The North American deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight’s executive vp of acquisitions & co-productions Ray Strache, with Rena Ronson at UTA Independent Film Group acting for FilmNation and the filmmakers.