Steve Coogan is going full Peter Sellers. The Alan Partridge and Philomena star has signed on for a British stage adaptation of Stanley Kubrick’s seminal nuclear war satire Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, with Coogan set to play multiple roles, as Sellers did in the 1964 feature film.
Veep and Death of Stalin director Armando Iannucci is adapting Kubrick’s film for the stage together with Sean Foley. Foley, who has had West End success with such adaptations as The Painkiller starring Kenneth Branagh and Ben Elton’s The Upstart Crow, will also direct the play, which is set to premiere at London’s Noel Coward Theatre on Oct. 8, 2024.
The official Stanley Kubrick account on X, formerly known as Twitter, made the Coogan casting announcement on Tuesday.
BREAKING NEWS – Steve Coogan named as lead in the stage adaptation of Stanley Kubrick’s dark comedy Dr. Strangelove.
Taking on multiple roles Coogan, one of the UK’s most acclaimed actors, will appear at the Noel Coward Theatre in 2024.
tickets on sale https://t.co/fvEzMhBFWe pic.twitter.com/SVsCQKahT9
— Stanley Kubrick (@StanleyKubrick) September 26, 2023
Iannucci confirmed the news on his own account, saying he “can’t wait to get started” on the adaptation. “We’re all hoping to send people home with a smile and a scream.”
— Armando Iannucci (@Aiannucci) September 26, 2023
Sellers played three radically different roles in Dr. Strangelove: the unflappable group Captain Lionel Mandrake, the befuddled U.S. President Merkin Muffley, and the wheelchair-bound German rocket scientist Dr. Strangelove. He was set to take on a fourth role, that of cowboy bomber pilot Major ‘King’ Kong, before the more culturally-appropriate Slim Pickens was eventually cast. Sellers picked up an Oscar nomination for his triple-threat performance.
The stage version of Dr. Strangelove, the first-ever adaptation of a Kubrick film, is being produced by Patrick Myles and David Luff, in association with Tulchin Bartner Productions and Playful Productions. Jonathan Cameron is the executive producer for the Stanley Kubrick Estate. The film, about a rogue U.S. general who triggers nuclear armageddon, is considered a masterpiece of comedy and dark satire.
“The idea of putting Dr Strangelove on stage is daunting, a huge responsibility,” Coogan said in a statement. “It’s also an exciting challenge, an opportunity to bring this timeless classic to a new audience. Knowing that I will be part of a creative team led by Sean Foley and Armando Iannucci means I will be working with the best people. Sean is a master of stage comedy and Armando and I started working with each other over 30 years ago. We made some memorable comedy together so it’s great to be collaborating with him once again.”