Coogan puts Alan Partridge on hold for lead role in Hollywood remake of Jules Verne's classic
Thursday 13 February 2003
The comedian Steve Coogan is to star as the Victorian adventurer Phileas Fogg in a $100m Hollywood remake of the classic comedy Around the World in 80 Days.
The actor Jackie Chan will appear as his sidekick, Passepartout, in the new version of the Jules Verne story, which will start filming in Germany and Thailand next month.
The original 1956 Oscar-winning film, which has become a popular staple of afternoon television schedules, featured David Niven as Fogg, along with Sir John Gielgud, Noel Coward and a young Shirley MacLaine, painted to play an Indian princess rescued from her husband's funeral pyre.
Frank Coraci, the man behind The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy, will direct the new film.
The epic tells the story of a fastidiously punctual Victorian gentleman, Phileas Fogg, who accepts a bet at his London club to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days.
On the way, he takes a balloon trip and elephant ride, as well as managing to work his way out of assorted scrapes.
Coogan, 37, was recently seen in a new BBC2 series of Alan Partridge, arguably his best-loved character, and revived his Paul and Pauline Calf characters last weekend for the launch of the BBC3 digital channel.
But he has been branching out into films in recent years, and won acclaim for his portrayal of broadcaster and record label boss Tony Wilson, in Michael Winterbottom's film, 24 Hour Party People, about the Manchester music scene.
Coogan's first movie, The Parole Officer, which he co-wrote and starred in, had less favourable reviews, however.
His Hollywood break means a slight delay for BBC2's planned drama about the 17th-century diarist Samuel Pepys, in which Coogan is to star.
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