Political comedy is sort of Armando Iannucci’s thing. His contributions to the genre include In the Loop, The Thick of It, and, of course, HBO’s Veep. He also has a film adaptation of Fabien Nury’s graphic novel The Death of Stalin on his docket, and Birth Movies Death reports that the project recently brought three new cast members on board and has begun filming.
Rupert Friend (Homeland), Jason Isaacs (The Patriot), and Paul Whitehouse (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) will join a strong cast that already includes the likes of Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, and Timothy “007” Dalton. The film’s source material follows the infamous despot’s final days and draws dark comedy out of the chaos that reigned in the wake of his death.
Friend will play Vasily Stalin, the son of the eponymous dictator, while Whitehouse will play Anastas Mikoyan, a longtime Soviet statesman. No word yet on who Isaacs is playing, but given his proclivity for looking sinister/frightening, we hope it’s somebody villainous.
If you thought Iannuci’s satire of modern-day American politics was cynical, just wait until he skewers the machinations and double dealings that characterized the Stalin era and the post-Stalin power struggle. You can expect much of what you’ve been getting from HBO’s Veep, but with a much grayer, bleaker filter applied. All due respect to the callous and calculating Selina Meyer — she’s pretty tame compared to some of the characters in this story.
For now, the film’s release date is still TBD, but it is expected to debut sometime next year. In the meantime, those interested in the project may want to check out Nury’s novel, which is broken into two parts: The Death of Stalin and Funeral.
Stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated as news breaks.