Academy Award nominee Armando Iannucci, best known as the creator of “Veep,” is set to reunite with “The Death of Stalin” producer Yann Zenou on the comedy “Sumo,” as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Described as a coming-of-age comedy, “Sumo” tells the story of Jonah, an overweight kid who sets out to become a sumo wrestler after befriending the female janitor at his school. She happens to be a former sumo wrestler and together they set out to build a dojo and begin training for the U.S. Sumo Open. The project has been likened to feel-good comedies in the same vein as “Booksmart” and “Superbad.”
As well as “The Death of Stalin,” Iannucci recently worked on “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” directing the comedy based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel. His popularity has stemmed from his highly successful television work, include the political satire “The Thick of It” with the spin-off film “In the Loop” earning Iannucci an Academy Award nomination.
Actress Suzy Nakamura (“Avenue 5”) has committed to playing the school janitor Hana and is the only casting choice made so far. Natalie Bailey, a long time collaborator with Iannucci who worked on “The Thick of It,” will direct. She has also worked frequently with Nakamura, recently directing episodes of “Avenue 5.” Richard Galazka has already penned the script with filming expected to start in late spring.
BAFTA-winning producers Emily Leo and Oliver Roskill will serve as executive producers, alongside Ado Yoshizaki Cassuto, Gianluca Chakra and Iannucci himself. Sales will be handled by Rocket Science at the European Film Market in Berlin.
The Hollywood Reporter also published a quote from producer Zenou on what to expect from “Sumo” and his excitement for the project:
“As with other films I’ve been involved with in the past, Sumo is the perfect feel-good movie with a heartfelt message at its core that audiences love all around the world,” said Zenou. “Richard’s script is literally laugh out loud funny whilst delicately exploring themes around body issues, bullying and self-worth. We cannot wait to bring it – and the explosive power of sumo wrestling – to the big screen.”
Shooting will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, with further updates on casting expected to be announced in the next few weeks.