There’ s little doubt that Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are two iconic comedy forces, decades after their heyday. The two were early pioneers in slapstick comedy and quickly found a worldwide audience through the movies. In the past few weeks, a lot has been made about the release of “Stan & Ollie,” a film based on one of their final tours. With Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly on board, this one looks like a serious player from the word go. Today, we got our first trailer for the film.
A lot of the attention in the film continues to circle around Reilly and with good reason. Reilly looks to be giving some of his career-best work here, seamlessly falling into the character. What feels astounding is that it not just the voice, but the physical transformation he goes through. Coogan brings a workman intensity to the screen. The character feels familiar from Coogan, yet it prickles with frustration and anger. The dynamic between the two actors will undeniably be a source of tension throughout the film.
Coogan and Reilly work from a script by Jeff Pope, an Oscar nominee for his work on “Philomena” in 2013. Jon S. Baird, the director of the film, has some experience with pacing out comedy for the screen. His previous work, “I’m Dying Up Here” and “Vinyl” both showcase performances in live settings, which will be necessary for the film here. Also of note is the work of Mark Coulier, which helps the actors disappear through makeup effects. Coulier is a two-time Oscar winner, making him a very real contender in the category. Overall, it feels like the pieces are in place for an Oscar run. After its acquisiton at TIFF by Sony Pictures Classics, this feels like one to take seriously.