Lionsgate has pre-bought UK rights to Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History Of David Copperfield. Dev Patel will star as Copperfield in the update of Charles’ Dickens classic novel, alongside Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Ben Whishaw, Aneurin Barnard, Morfydd Clark, Anthony Welsh and Rosalind Eleazar.

Kevin Loader and Iannucci produce the feature, which was developed with FilmNation. Veep creator Iannucci wrote the script with Simon Blackwell (In The Loop). Shoot is expected to begin in June in the UK. FilmNation is handling sales and co-reps US with UTA Independent Film Group.

Dickens’ classic chronicles the life of its iconic title character as he navigates a chaotic world, from his unhappy childhood to the discovery of his gift as a storyteller and writer.

“The combination of Armando’s writing and directing and the source material of a classical masterpiece is a project that is irresistible to us”, said Zygi Kamasa, CEO, Lionsgate UK. “Add to that a renowned team behind the camera and a diverse and talented cast and you have a film guaranteed to excite audiences to add to our slate.”

“I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Lionsgate in the UK to be making this wonderful story about poverty and riches, and friendship and loss,” commented Armando Iannucci. “With such an amazing and immense cast, David Copperfield is The Infinity War of the 1840s. I’m so glad to be reuniting with many of the talented crew behind The Death of Stalin to make it.”