Actor John C. Reilly considered it his “sacred mission” to preserve the legacy of comedy icons Laurel and Hardy by signing on to star in a new biopic.
The Stepbrothers funnyman teamed up with British comic Steve Coogan to portray the beloved double act in Stan & Ollie, which chronicles what became their final theatre tour of the U.K. and Ireland in the 1950s.
Both stars spent hours in the make-up chair to achieve their onscreen transformations, but Reilly, who plays the heavyset Oliver Hardy, had no complaints because he was fully committed to getting the look of his icon just right.
“It’s a real labour of love, that one,” Reilly said. “Laurel and Hardy were so important to me growing up, I don’t know if the young people know who they are, but the fat guy and the skinny guy, they were the most famous comedians in the world in the 1930s, and then their careers went on and on; people rediscovered them through TV and stuff.”
“Anyway, they’re very important people to me, and I felt like it was my sacred mission to bring their films to the next generation of people.”
Oscar-winning makeup artists Jeremy Woodhead and Mark Coulier were tasked with masterminding the physical makeovers, and by the time Reilly was camera-ready, he was barely recognisable.
“I had to wear this giant fat suit, tons of prosthetic makeup all around…,” he shared on U.S. talk show The View. “Only my face and (the insides of his hands) were exposed.”
Stan & Ollie, which was directed by Jon S. Baird, opens in theatres next month (Dec18).
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