The festival season always seems to bring at least one surprise contender to the forefront. Last year, “I, Tonya” quickly grew in popularity after it’s debut at TIFF. It went on to win Allison Janney her first Oscar. The year before, “Moonlight” became a surprise hit, helping catapult the film towards Best Picture. With the festivals about to begin, there hasn’t been a clear picture of which films could make that jump. However, one to potentially look at will be John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan‘s “Stan & Ollie.”
Today, the 62nd BFI London Film Festival announced that the World Premiere of “Stan & Ollie” will close the festival. “Stan & Ollie” follow will Reilly and Coogan as one of the most famous comedic duos of all time, Laurel and Hardy. Laurel and Hardy emerged in the 1920’s through their use of slapstick humor. The two worked as an English thin man (Laurel) and an American fat man (Hardy) being paired together. Their success spawned over 100 films together, from the silent film era to 23 full-length talkies. An IMDb synopsis of “Stan & Ollie” is as follows:
Laurel and Hardy, the world’s most famous comedy duo, attempt to reignite their film careers as they embark on what becomes their swan song – a grueling theatre tour of post-war Britain.
Both Coogan and Reilly have shown the ability to be extremely strong performers. Each has been Oscar-nominated (Coogan’s for writing), and each possess strong comedic talent. This might be the best combination of actors one could hope to assemble for this film. Reilly’s ability to emote and play funny could help spur him toward an Oscar nomination, especially since his performance in “The Sisters Brothers” will also be seemingly in contention. Jon S. Baird (“Vinyl“) directs “Stan & Ollie” with Jeff Pope (Oscar-nominated for “Philomena“) writing.