Fox Searchlight Pictures Acquires North American rights to ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’

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Fox Searchlight Pictures announced today that it has acquired North American rights to writer, producer and director Armando Iannucci’s dazzlingly inventive and reimagined take on one of literature’s most triumphant masterpieces, The Personal History of David Copperfield, starring Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw, Paul Whitehouse, Aneurin Barnard, Daisy May Cooper, Morfydd Clark, Benedict Wong, Gwendoline Christie, Anthony Welsh and Rosalind Eleazar.

The film is produced by Iannucci and Kevin Loader and was financed by FilmNation Entertainment and Film4. It will have its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival on September 5, 2019 and open the BFI London Film Festival on October 2, 2019. FilmNation Entertainment is handling international sales. The film is scheduled for a theatrical release in 2020.

The Personal History of David Copperfield masterfully tells the story of Charles Dickens’ remarkable character David Copperfield, giving the tale new life for a cosmopolitan age with a diverse ensemble cast of stage and screen actors from across the world. Iannucci  and co-writer Simon Blackwell have crafted a story of a man whose rogue spirit carries him through a colorful life of poverty and opulence. The film follows David, a burgeoning young writer, from orphaned infancy to adulthood as he befriends a collection of eccentric characters on a journey of love, acceptance and self-discovery in Victorian England.

“Armando Iannucci is a wonderfully original filmmaker and expert storyteller; he brings his irreverent and imaginative take to this iconic and beloved story,” said Fox Searchlight Chairmen Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula. “As for Dev, he has consistently impressed since his unforgettable breakout roles in Slumdog Millionaire and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. With his warmth, humor and diversity of roles throughout his career, it is particularly rewarding to see him lead such a spectacular ensemble in this film.”

“We are so pleased that Fox Searchlight’s early enthusiasm for this movie has paid off, and we’re excited by their plans to bring it to as wide an audience as possible in North America. We’re all proud of this film, and with Fox Searchlight, we have the right fit: we can’t wait to get started,” said Iannucci and Loader.

The deal was brokered by Fox Searchlight’s Executive Vice President of Acquisitions & Co-Productions Ray Strache, with Rena Ronson at UTA on behalf of FilmNation and the filmmakers.

“We cannot wait to share with the world Armando’s fresh and fun interpretation of one of Dickens’ most beloved stories. We’re so fortunate to have Fox Searchlight and their best in class team on board as we prepare to charm audiences around the world with this incredible, character-driven tale,” said FilmNation Entertainment CEO Glen Basner and Film4 Director Daniel Battsek.