IFC Films has acquired North American rights to “Veep” creator Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin,” a comedic take on the events that transpired after the brutal strongman died in 1953, TheWrap has learned.
IFC closed the seven-figure deal at the Berlin Film Festival’s European Film Market with Gaumont, which financed the movie. Iannucci and IFC previously worked together on “In the Loop,” which scored Iannucci an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2010.
Adrian McLoughlin plays Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in the film, which features an A-list cast including Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs and Michael Palin. The movie takes a comic approach to the aftermath of Stalin’s death, which plunged the Soviet Union into a power struggle pitting several ambitious officials against each other. Stalin’s longtime lieutenant Lavrentiy Beria was briefly part of the ruling troika, until he was deposed and executed as part of a coup d’etat. Nikita Khrushchev eventually prevailed in the struggle, which lasted until 1958.
Iannucci handled the screenplay with David Schneider and Ian Martin with additional material by Peter Fellows. Yann Zenou, Nicolas Duval-Adassovsky, Laurent Zeitoun and Kevin Loader produced. The film is adapted from a French graphic novel by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin.
Gaumont is represented by CAA, while UTA reps Iannucci.