Laurel & Hardy biopic to close London Film Festival

The 2018 BFI London Film Festival is to close with the upcoming biopic of the giants of early comedy cinema, Laurel & Hardy.

John C Reilly (left) and Steve Coogan as Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel in Stan & Ollie.

Stan & Ollie – played respectively by Steve Coogan and John C Reilly – will receive its world premiere in London on 21st October.

Directed by Jon S Baird and written by Coogan’s long-time collaborator Jeff Pope, the film will be simultaneously screened at participating cinemas across the UK.

The film follows the pair on what was to become their farewell tour of the UK and Ireland.

The festival’s acting Artistic Director Tricia Tuttle said she was delighted to be closing the festival with what she described as a beautiful tribute to cinema’s early comedy odd couple. “A truly funny and touching story about a tender life-long friendship, Jon Baird’s film is also a must for movie fans, exploring the twilight years of two mega-watt performers who had a meteoric rise to fame. These two prove that true comic timing is eternal.”

In a statement, Baird said he was really proud to give the film its world premiere in a city that’s dear to him – and to Laurel and Hardy themselves. “Stan & Ollie, at its heart, is a love story between old friends, who just happen to be two of the most iconic comedic characters in Hollywood’s history,” he enthused.

The LFF has a history of selecting closing night films that go on to be Oscar contenders, such as Slumdog Millionaire,  Frost/Nixon, Steve Jobs and last year’s Three Billboards. With a release date in January, this film will certainly be pushing for awards recognition too.