EXCLUSIVE: An all-star cast has boarded Armando Iannucci’s The Death Of Stalin. Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Olga Kurylenko, Timothy Dalton, Toby Kebbel, Michael Palin, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine and Andrea Riseborough are in advanced talks to join the project.
France’s Gaumont is financing and selling the film, which is right in the Veep creator’s wheelhouse, mixing politics with satire and black comedy. Production is set to begin in June. The project is being produced by French powerhouse Quad Productions, who were behind the smash hit Intouchables.
Death Of Stalin is a feature adaptation on Fabien-Nury’s acclaimed graphic novel that follows the Soviet dictator’s last days and depicts the chaos of the regime after his death in 1953 after 30 years of iron-fisted rule over the Soviet Union. It is set to be one of the hot titles at Cannes.
Stalin’s death has been the subject of much conjecture — and conspiracy theories — over the years, with some asserting he was poisoned under the orders of KGB chief Lavrenty Beria to prevent the bellicose Stalin from plunging the country and world into World War III. That Beria, who ranked only behind Stalin in terms of fearsome reputation, was himself executed months later under charges of being an agent for Western intelligence agencies, has only added to the mystique surrounding that epochal moment in history.
Iannucci has written the screenplay with frequent collaborator David Schneider, with Ian Martin (In The Loop, Veep) also doing a polish. Quad’s Laurent Zeitoun, Yann Zenou and Nicolas Duval Adassovsky produce alongside Kevin Loader (The Lady In The Van). Gaumont’s international sales exec Cecile Gaget will oversee the project for the company.
Iannucci is repped by UTA and PBJ Management.