“It was a tall order, but a problem shared is a problem halved,” reveals actor Steve Coogan about teaming up with John C. Reilly to portray the legendary comedy duo of Laurel and Hardy in the new film “Stan and Ollie.” In our recent interview (watch the exclusive video above), he adds, “This huge task was like climbing a mountain. You just have to make sure you have the right equipment and prepare properly. We had three weeks of rehearsal and it was great because we could practice the dances, movements and physicality of Laurel and Hardy.”
Directed by Jon S. Baird, the movie is mostly set in Great Britain after the major film successes of the comedy duo of Laurel and Hardy. The film opens with them in Hollywood just before Stan Laurel (played by Coogan) is about to leave Oliver Hardy (Reilly) over a contract dispute. Laurel is the main architect behind the act and writes their material. The great majority of the plot concerns their efforts to revitalize their careers while in London and surrounding areas playing live shows and trying to set up financing for a new project. Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson play their wives.
In our chat Coogan discusses the first time he saw himself in the mirror as Laurel. He says, “It was pretty uncanny. At first John and I were both very anxious about the makeup unless it was absolutely top drawer. I had 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 and the way I feel and the way he talked.”
Coogan is a past Oscar nominee for producing Best Picture nominee “Philomena,” which also brought him and co-writer Jeff Pope (how penned “Stan and Ollie”) a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. He also competed at the Golden Globes and BAFTA for that same film starring Judi Dench. He has won four times with his home country’s BAFTA Awards for his iconic role of Alan Partridge for various programs and prevailed in the film screenplay category for “Philomena.”
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