Universal Builds 'Dad's Army' with Bill Nighy & Catherine Zeta-Jones
The man who brought Johnny English to the United States from across the pond is back with a big screen adaptation of a classic British sitcom. Dad's Army is a series that ran on BBC from 1968 to 1977, taking place during World War II in 1944 as the Allies are poised to invade France and finally defeat the German army. And now Deadline reports director Oliver Parker is working on a feature film adaptation of the show with an impressive cast that includes Bill Nighy in the lead with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Toby Jones, Tom Courtenay and Michael Gambon. All of these actors in a UK comedy? Sounds good to me.
In what sounds like a British version of Sgt. Bilko, the film follows the Home Guard (volunteers ineligible for military service) in Walmington-on-Sea with the mission of patrolling the Dover army base as a way to raise their spirits. Shaking things up is the arrive of a lovely journalist named Rose Winters who is doing a story on their work, which puts everyone on high alert, especially the local women. But things take an even more interesting turn when MI-5 learns that there's a spy on their base and could help win the war.
Johnny English was more of a broad, silly comedy from the United Kingdom, but with this kind of cast on board, we're hoping this is a smarter, dry sort of comedy. The rest of the cast also includes Mark Gatiss, Blake Harrison, Danny Mays, Bill Paterson, Sarah Lancashire, Alison Steadman and Annette Crosbie, so it's quite a sizable ensemble. Could we be looking at something akin to a period-set version of In the Loop? That would be ideal, but it's hard to say with a director like Oliver Parker on board. Production starts this month in the UK, and we hope to see this film make it to the US eventually, at least if it's good.