Indo- British actor Dev Patel is set to star in The Personal History of David Copperfield, a reworking of Charles Dickens’ novel from The Thick of It creator Armando Iannucci.
According to Variety, Patel will take the lead in the film, which “will offer a modern take on Dickens’ title character as he navigates a chaotic world to find his elusive place within it”. Iannucci will direct, from a screenplay co-written with his long-time writing partner, Simon Blackwell.
“[Iannucci] is a Dickens aficionado, so he wants it to be very authentic but it will have his own sensitivity,” BBC Films’ Christine Langan said of the project when it was first announced in 2015.
Patel, who rose to prominence in Danny Boyle’s 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire, was last seen in the 2016 drama Lion, the true-life story of a young man’s cross-continental attempt to reunite with his family, for which he won the best supporting actor award at last year’s Baftas. He is next set to star in Hotel Mumbai, an account of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. However, that film is currently in production limbo, due to its rights being owned by the troubled Weinstein Company.
Iannucci most recently directed The Death of Stalin, a darkly comic account of the political manoeuvring that followed the death of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in 1953. The film, nominated for two awards at this weekend’s Baftas, had its Russian distribution certificate withdrawn by the country’s culture ministry, with committee members describing it as “vile, repugnant and insulting”. The Death of Stalin has also been banned in Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
Patel is just coming off his directorial debut with “Home Shopper” a film featured at the Sundance Festival. He earned critical acclaim for his role in The Man Who Knew Infinity, the story of genius Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.