Searchlight Pictures has unveiled the first trailer for The Personal History of David Copperfield. This new take on the Charles Dickens’ favorite comes from director Armando Iannucci, best known for his work on HBO’s Veep. It stars Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, The Newsroom) as the iconic character in what looks to be a very unique take on the tale. It certainly doesn’t hurt matters that Iannucci has assembled an A-list ensemble to back up Oscar-nominee Patel, who is leading the way.
The trailer kicks off by showing us an adult David Copperfield on stage as played by Dev Patel, recounting some of the major events of his life to the crowd. We then flashback to his life as a young boy and follow him through key moments and adventures. The filmmakers have injected quite a bit of levity and dark humor into the story. Aside from that, one of the big takeaways is the production design. Many of the sets and locations look rather grand and epic. Overall, it looks like a heavily stylized take on a tale that has been told more than a few times in the past, which could help set it apart.
The Personal History of David Copperfield re-imagines Charles Dickens’ classic ode to grit and perseverance through a comedic lens, giving the familiar tale new life for the modern age with a diverse ensemble cast of stage and screen actors from across the world. It follows Copperfield on his quirky journey from impoverished orphan to burgeoning writer in Victorian England. The cast also includes Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk), Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who), Gwendoline Christie (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange), Benedict Wong (Avengers: Infinity War), Daisy May Cooper (The Wrong Mans), Rosalind Eleazar (Howards End), Hugh Laurie (House), Ben Wishaw (Paddington 2), Morfydd Clark (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), and Paul Whitehouse (Alice Through the Looking Glass).
Armando Iannucci, outside of HBO’s Veep, has worked on several highly-regarded shows including I’m Alan Partridge and The Thick of It. On the movie side of things, he previously directed 2017’s The Death of Stalin, which was one of the best-reviewed movies of that year. Iannucci’s frequent collaborator Simon Blackwell penned the screenplay. Charles Dickens’s tale was originally published as a serial starting in 1849, before being collected as a novel in 1950.
Critics who have screened the movie so far have been quite kind. Following its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, it holds an impressive 95 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This could be a much-needed win for Fox, as this was produced before the Disney merger went into effect last year. In the months since the merger, the majority of the studio’s titles have flopped, leaving Disney holding the bag. The Personal History of David Copperfield is set to hit theaters on May 8 from Searchlight Pictures. Be sure to check out the new trailer for yourself.