BAFTA-winning English actor Dev Patel is to play David Copperfield in FilmNation’s retelling of Charles Dickens’ The Personal History Of David Copperfield, written and directed by Scottish satirist Armando Iannucci, also the creator of the Emmy-winning political comedy Veep on HBO. 

The project will offer a modern take on Dickens’ title character as he navigates a chaotic world to find his elusive place within it.

The original classic was first published in 1850 and describes the journey of the titular protagonist – who was modelled after Dickens himself – from impoverished childhood to becoming a successful author, thanks to perseverance and despite a lack of personal discipline.

Iannucci is directing from a script he wrote with comedy writer Simon Blackwell, known for his work on BAFTA-winning comedy series The Thick Of It which satirises the inner workings of modern British government.

Iannucci and Blackwell previously collaborated on the script for In The Loop, a 2009 satirical black comedy that earned an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film was a spin-off from the BBC TV series The Thick of It.

Iannucci created Veep as an adaptation of The Thick Of It and was its showrunner for the first four seasons (2012-2015). He also directed and co-wrote the script for the critically acclaimed political satire The Death Of Stalin (2017).

Patel is coming off his Oscar-nominated role in Lion, which tells the true story of an Australian man who sets out to find his biological family in India after 25 years of being lost from them. His next film is Hotel Mumbai, based on the true story of the 2008 attacks at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India. – Reuters/Justin Kroll