“Slumdog Millionaire” and “Lion” star Dev Patel toplines period Charles Dickens drama “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” Armando Iannucci’s followup to “The Death of Stalin,” which will have its European premiere on opening night October 2 at the Odeon Luxe, Leicester Square at the BFI London Film Festival. This year’s festival runs October 3 to 13.
This date means the film will first play one or more stateside festivals: Telluride, Toronto, or New York, where American buyers will first check out the film. FilmNation is handling international rights, with UTA co-repping the U.S. sale.
Iannucci’s witty dialogue and the detailed Victorian setting should be catnip for BAFTA and Academy voters, along with a starry cast including Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw, Paul Whitehouse, Gwendoline Christie, and Aneurin Barnard. Shot on location in the UK, the film is produced by Kevin Loader and Iannucci; Suzie Harman and Robert Worley designed the costumes; Cristina Casali is the production designer; cinematographer Zac Nicholson shot it; Karen Hartley-Thomas styled the hair and make-up; and Christopher Willis composed the score.
Iannucci, the writer-director of “The Thick of It,” “In the Loop,” “Veep,” and “The Death of Stalin,” adapted the Dickens classic with frequent collaborator Simon Blackwell. The film follows the good-hearted Copperfield from birth to infancy, adolescence to adulthood, poverty to wealth. “‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’ is a film about compassion, humour, generosity and friendship,” said Iannucci.
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“The Personal History of David Copperfield” is the eighth Film4 production in ten years to be selected either as Opening or Closing Night Gala of the BFI London Film Festival. “Scotland’s Armando Iannucci is one of the most prodigiously talented and original filmmakers hailing from the UK,” said BFI London Film Festival Director Tricia Tuttle in an official statement. “‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’ shows his trademark wit and a joyous sense of style — it’s a delight from start to finish, with Dev Patel and co-stars delivering performances of megawatt charm and comic flair. I’m so excited to be opening the 63rd BFI London Film Festival with this film which is not only wildly entertaining but also a timely celebration of the power of generosity and compassion.”
The full Festival program for the 63rd London Film Festival will be announced on August 29.