TV and film star Steve Coogan paid a trip to Ulverston to promote his new biopic ‘Stan & Ollie’ detailing the life of comedy duo Laurel and Hardy.
Coogan, alongside his family, attended a private screening of the film at Ulverston’s Laurel and Hardy Museum.
The museum includes a broad collection of Laurel and Hardy photos as well as the 1930s period cinema the Roxy, which was opened in April 2009.
The museum’s owner and curator, Mark Greenhow, said Coogan's visit and screening put the town even further on the map.
“It’s an absolutely wonderful endorsement of the museum that he chose to have the showing here,” said Mr Greenhow.
“The visit can only be a good thing for the Ulverston. It increases the profile and knowledge of both Laurel and Hardy as well as Ulverston itself.”
The story of Hollywood’s greatest comedy double act is brought to the cinema screen for the first time, documenting the difficult farewell tour of the comic collaboration.
The film, which sees Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly join forces as the comedy legends, dramatises the final chapters in both Laurel and Hardy’s life and career.
Mr Greenhow could not praise the film and its performances more, adding: “It’s an absolute love letter to the friendship of Laurel and Hardy.
"All of the performances were absolutely spot on.”
Coogan admits he’s a fan of the duo and says they were his real introduction to comedy.
“They were rediscovered after fading from memory in cinemas and given a new lease of life – they were my first taste of comedy,” he said.
Coogan said that Jeff Pope, the film’s writer, had first mentioned the film to Steve when they were working together on the movie Philomena.
“I said ‘That sounds interesting…’ Jeff said ‘They don’t know who to cast…’ Next day, Jeff said: ‘Someone suggested your name…’.”
Coogan added: “I felt it would be a real privilege and a huge responsibility to play the role,” said Steve. “It came along at the right time – to be able to step into Stan’s shoes and try to do justice to him.”
Steve and Jeff had previously visited the house in Ulverston where Stan Laurel was born, commenting that:
“It was like making a pilgrimage. I felt somehow we had got a blessing from Stan Laurel.”
Steve said he had pushed for the film, which has its general release on January 11, to have a special screening at the Roxy.
“The Lake District has a very strong place in my heart,” he said. “It’s my sanctuary.”
John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan at the Stan and Ollie premiere as part of the BFI London Film Festival at the Cineworld Cinema in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. (Picture: Ian West/PA Wire).
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