The new comedy is out in cinemas this weekend, after picking up strong reviews and BAFTA nominations – including one for Coogan. But speaking on The Graham Norton Show tonight, he explained why he and co-star John C Reilly were had their worries about portraying such iconic people. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are, of course, one of the most famous double-acts of all time.
Coogan told Norton: “It was a bit of a risk and we were both anxious about playing such iconic characters who are admired by so many people.
“Audiences are laughing and crying at it which is good.”
Asked to compare their bond to that of Laurel and Hardy, Reilly said: “We had to recreate a partnership that lasted 30 years in three weeks!”
“We had a rehearsal period where we learnt all these songs and dances and it was like fast-tracking a friendship and it worked,” Coogan added.
“In the end it wasn’t so hard getting on with John!”
In a separate interview with ScreenRant, he opened up on how the film manages to entertain its audiences without becoming “low-brow”.
“There are too many smart-a**es and wise-a**es around, whose comedy is kind of about punching down, when it should be about punching up,” he said.
“Laurel and Hardy, underpinning all the misfortunes that happen to them, there is schadenfreude and we all take a little pleasure in watching someone else screw up, and Laurel and Hardy are no different.
“But those two guys, however much they annoy each other, they stick around. They never desert each other.”
Stan and Ollie has picked up great reviews; and has a 92% rating on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
The consensus reads: “Stan & Ollie pays tribute to a pair of beloved entertainers with an affectionate look behind the scenes – and a moving look at the burdens and blessings of a creative bond.”
Stan and Ollie is out now.