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Hugh Bonneville to play Roald Dahl in new biopic

Downton Abbey

Story by Jack Foley

DOWNTON Abbey luminary Hugh Bonneville is to play Roald Dahl in an upcoming biopic about the author and his wife.

The as-yet untitled project will be set in the 1960s and will focus on Dahl’s marriage to actress Patricia Neal.

That decade was a time when Dahl struggled to write some of his most famous works, such as Matilda and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, while Neal starred in Hud, a role which saw her win an Oscar for best actress alongside Paul Newman.

The biopic has been described as being in the same vein as the Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson film Saving Mr Banks, which chronicled how Walt Disney persuaded PL Travers to let him make a film out of her novel Mary Poppins.

As yet, there has been no announcement on who will play the role of Neal.

But speaking about Bonneville’s casting, the film’s producer Elliot Jenkins said: ““I can’t imagine anyone better to give the ambivalent nature of Roald Dahl’s life. He was such a man of wounded parts below his polished veneer of self-confidence.”

In what is proving to be a busy period for Bonneville, the actor will also star in the new Thomas & Friends film Journey Beyond Sodor. He will voice a new engine called Merlin who believes he has the power of invisibility.

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