Will “Stan and Ollie” tickle the academy’s funny bone? Directed by Jon S. Baird, the movie casts Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, who try to revitalize their careers while playing live shows in the UK and trying to set up financing for a new project. Gold Derby recently spoke with Coogan, Reilly, Baird and composer Rolfe Kent about their work on the film.
“I looked more like him that I realized,” says Reilly about his resemblance to Oliver Hardy. In fact, most of the makeup they added was “just weight. They didn’t alter the bone structure of my face or change my ears at all. If you look at Oliver from behind, he actually does look like me, or my dad, or one of my uncles.” Reilly has been nominated at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards for this performance.
Coogan had a similar experience the first time he saw himself in the mirror as Stan Laurel. “It was pretty uncanny,” he says. “At first John and I were both very anxious about the makeup unless it was absolutely top-drawer. The tips of my ears were fake, and the bottom of my chin where I had this teeth guard that pushed my jaw out. I was shocked at how much it really transformed not only the way I looked but the way I feel and the way he talked.”
Coogan is a past Oscar nominee for producing Best Picture contender “Philomena,” which also brought him and co-writer Jeff Pope (who penned “Stan and Ollie”) a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. He also competed at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs for that same film, winning the BAFTA for the screenplay.
“I was a huge Laurel and Hardy fan since I was eight years old,” Baird reveals. “I’ve got a picture of me dressed as Stan Laurel for the school fancy dress party. So there’s proof there that I did love them. It’s been a long love affair for me and these two guys. When I read Jeff’s script, I jumped at the chance because it was a childhood dream come true.”
Composer Kent didn’t make the recent Oscar shortlist of Best Original Score contenders, but he has been a frequent presence on the awards circuit in the past: he received Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice nominations for “Sideways,” plus an Emmy bid for “Dexter.”
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