Films

Dev Patel and Armando Iannucci are teaming up to make a 'David Copperfield' movie

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Mike Rampton
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Dev Patel and Armando Iannucci are making a 'David Copperfield' movie

Armando Iannucci is making an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield starring Dev Patel.

(This is nothing to do with the magician. That seems worth solidly pointing out. It’s a film based on the same book that the magician named himself after. This is not a film about making the Statue of Liberty disappear, dating Claudia Schiffer or flying while wearing suspiciously baggy jumpers.)

David Copperfield was Dickens’ favourite of his own works, and is generally seen as being at least semi-autobiographical. The full title of the book is The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account) - for a universally acclaimed author Dickens was crap at titles. 

Some of his most famous characters come from the book, like eternal optimist Mr Micawber, kindly eccentric Betsey Trotwood (also the name of a nice pub in Clerkenwell) and sycophantic shitbag Uriah Heep.

The adaptation will be set in the present day, but beyond that, few details have come out. It seems reasonably safe to assume that Patel is playing Copperfield himself, but no other cast members have been announced. 

Both Iannucci and Patel are Oscar nominees, Patel for acting in Lion and Iannucci for co-writing In The Loop. Iannucci is behind some of the greatest, sweariest comedies ever and is co-writing the film with fellow Veep and The Thick of It veteran Simon Blackwell (also of Peep Show, Four Lions and Back), so it might be the first Dickens adaptation to include lines like “I wouldn’t fucking piss on you if you were fucking allergic to piss”, and “I’ve never seen anyone be so fucking ugly with just one head”.

Interestingly, Iannucci co-created Alan Partridge, whose stalker Jed was also a big fan of the magician David Copperfield. Has Iannucci been thinking about this project since making I’m Alan Partridge in 1997? Probably not - the film definitely isn’t about the magician - but still, interesting…

(Main image: Rex)