Emma Atkinson

New Laurel and Hardy biopic from Filth director

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Jon S Baird to direct “love letter” to legendary comedy duo.

The director who adapted the Irvine Welsh novel Filth is set to make a biopic about Laurel and Hardy, set during their farewell tour of Britain.

Jon S Baird told Scotland on Sunday: ‘It’s really a love story between two guys who come to realise they can’t live without each other. It’s a really, really beautiful tale.’

The film, which is being made for BBC One, is scripted by Jeff Pope, who won an Oscar for co-writing Philomena with Steve Coogan.

During the time of their 1953 tour, Laurel and Hardy were international superstars; but various misfortunes, including poorly received films, a split from their mentor, divorces and Hardy’s degenerating health all added to their gradual fall.

BBC comedy chief Shane Allen said: ‘Stan and Ollie is Jeff’s love letter to two pioneers and enduring giants of screen comedy. It beautifully captures the deep emotional bond forged over a lifelong partnership as they reflect on their rollercoaster careers through the prism of this final UK farewell tour.’

The cast has yet been confirmed for the 90-minute film, which is a co-production with New York film studio The Weinstein Company.

Baird claims he is in talks with two ‘very high level’ Hollywood stars to take the lead roles. Although declining to name them he said: ‘Put it like this: it’s not ­Cannon and Ball.’