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Stan and Ollie: Laurel and Hardy biopic filmed in the Black Country nominated for Bafta Awards

By Rebecca Stanley | Dudley | Attractions | Published:

A Laurel and Hardy biopic filmed in the Black Country has been nominated for two Bafta Awards.

John C Reilly and Steve Coogan in Stan and Ollie

Stan and Ollie, that had scenes shot in the Black Country Museum as well as Birmingham's Old Rep Theatre, will be up against the likes of Bohemian Rhapsody and McQueen in the Outstanding British Film category.

Steve Coogan, who plays Stan Laurel in the film, has also been nominated under the Leading Actor category.

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Starring Coogan and John C Reilly, the film documents what would become the comedy duo's farewell tour of the UK and shows them facing dwindling audiences while airing old grievances, battling health issues and reminiscing about the past.

A special screening of the film took place at Dudley's Showcase Cinema last week ahead of its release this Friday.

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy performed at Dudley Hippodrome at the height of their powers in Hollywood. During their visit they also stopped over at the iconic Station Hotel.

Steve Coogan has said he was drawn to making a film about Laurel and Hardy because it would not be a “conventional biopic”.

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Arriving at the BFI London Film Festival last yeae in matching bowler hats and kilts, Coogan told the Press Association: “We cover a little bit of their heyday, but really it’s about them 20 years after they were famous and it’s about someone’s relationship when the lights are off and the adulation has died away in some ways.

“They came back together to do this live tour of Britain so we see them in the autumn of their lives and that it what makes it interesting and not just a conventional biopic.”

Coogan added it was “scary and exciting” to take on such a famous figure, but said he did feel an affinity with Laurel.

STAN & OLLIE - OFFICIAL MAIN TRAILER [HD] Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly

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He said: “His career was in comedy, mine is, he’s from the north, I am and I didn’t feel like I was playing a martian. It didn’t seem like a huge stretch.

“He’s an icon so it wasn’t like I was super comfortable with it, but I felt like I had the best shot at getting it right out of anyone.”

He added: “We spent a few weeks rehearsing before the camera rolled to get the physical side of it right, the dancing, a lot of the physical comedy requires a lot of work. It was hard work but enjoyable.”

Reilly said the dance routines made the film “a lot more aerobic” than he was expecting.

He added: “Laurel and Hardy made it look so nonchalant, but actually they rehearsed a lot to get it the way it is.”

Birmingham film maker Richard Billingham is also nominated for the Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer Award at the Baftas for 2018 film Ray and Liz.

Ray and Liz sees Turner Prize-nominated and Deutsche Börse Prize-winning artist Richard return to the striking photographs of his family during Thatcher-era Britain.

The film is based on Billingham’s memories, focussing on his parents Ray and Liz, their relationship, and its impact on Richard and his younger brother Jason.

RAY & LIZ clip | BFI London Film Festival 2018

The 49-year-old came to prominence through his candid photography of his family in Cradley Heath, a body of work later added to and published in the acclaimed book Ray's A Laugh.

Richard is the recent recipient of The Douglas Hickox Award and Jacqui Davies of the Breakthrough producer Award at BIFA 2018.

Also filmed at the Black Country Museum, BBC drama Peaky Blinders has been nominated for a National Television Award.

The show will go up against Call the Midwife and Casualty in the Drama category.

Peaky’s star Cillian Murphy will also go head-to-head with Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker in the Best Drama Performance Award, where the will face competition from Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer and Our Girl’s Michelle Keegan.

Rebecca Stanley

By Rebecca Stanley
@becci_star

Entertainment journalist for Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Contact me: rebecca.stanley@expressandstar.co.uk

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