Richard III Movie News

I hope this will help to put some minds at ease.

Steve Coogan

There has been an explosion of interest in the announcement made by Steve Coogan last week that he is due to start filming a movie about Philippa Langley’s search for Richard III. I’ve seen a lot of slightly nervous noise on social media about the film. The main concerns seem to be that it will be a comedy, and that it will make fun of the dig, of those involved, and of Richard III.

We need Corporal Jones. Because there is absolutely no need to panic, Mr Mainwaring, or anyone else.

Philippa has confirmed that she’s closely involved with the film.

The second thing to note is that it will not be a comedy. Steve Coogan is co-writing the script with Jeff Pope, a pairing that first delivered the BAFTA award-winning and four-time Oscar nominated Philomena in 2013. Steve Coogan will play Philippa’s husband in the movie – no news yet on who might be playing Philippa though. Jeff Pope is a multi-award-winning writer and the Head of Factual Drama at ITV Studios. This will be a drama, a human story, and not a comedy. Oscar-winning director Stephen Frears, who directed Philomena, The Queen and A Very English Scandal, is also rumoured to be attached to the project.

Jeff Pope

Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope made a low-key visit to the Richard III Visitor Centre in Leicester as long ago as 2017 as part of their research work on the project.

With filming due to begin next year, more details will hopefully be forthcoming soon. In the meantime, it’s exciting to look forward to a serious film that will explore the drama of a search against all the odds for the remains of one of history’s most famous kings. And it’ll be weird to see some friends portrayed in the film!

21 thoughts on “Richard III Movie News

  1. Excellent – glad to hear that Philippa is to be closely involved. And as for comedy – Steve Coogan has been able to produce gentle, thoughtful drama with smiles, so it won’t be Carry On In The Car Park!! I’m sure it will depict The Little Person up against the forces of The Establishment and will make serious points about the value of derterminatrion and commitment against vested interests..

  2. Reblogged this on The Order of the White Boar and commented:
    This is very reassuring news – that Philippa Langley is ‘closely involved’ with this film.
    Given the filmmakers involved (and potentially involved) this could be, not only an interesting film, but also perhaps a really worthwhile project – for Richard himself and for contemporary Ricardians.

  3. Omg. This literally just made my day. Stephanie Walker

    On Wed., Sep. 9, 2020, 2:22 a.m. Matt’s History Blog, wrote:

    > mattlewisauthor posted: ” I hope this will help to put some minds at ease. > Steve Coogan There has been an explosion of interest in the announcement > made by Steve Coogan last week that he is due to start filming a movie > about Philippa Langley’s search for Richard III. I’ve s” >

  4. I feel most strongly that, again, King Richard III has been betrayed.
    His mortal remains should have been brought home to Yorkshire and re-interred in York Minster or St. Akelda’s Church in Middleham, with the full funerary rites of the Roman Catholic Church. He was a Roman Catholic. The protestant Church of England had not yet been established at the time of his death. So Richard’s C. of E. burial was a total travesty and a further desecration of a maligned and betrayed monarch by an archaeoligist and a local council who saw a chance to make some money. If you want to be associated with something as morally bankrupt as this project, fair enough. However, you should be aware that there is a strong groundswell of opinion against the archaeologist.
    The excavation and wrongful burial at Leicester was nothing more than a vanity project for the archaeologist and the presentation of her as some kind of heroine fighting against bureaucracy is at best ironic.

    1. Hi Margaret. Thank you for your reply, but I think you have a few things wrong. The Looking for Richard Project conducted the research that led to the dig and discovery. The archaeologists involved were employed by the Looking for Richard Project and were from the University of Leicester. I assume the ‘her’ you refer to is Philippa Langley. If so, she is not an archaeologist, had no say in what the council did after the discovery or the decision to bury Richard in Leicester. Dr John Ashdown-Hill of the Looking for Richard Project was insistent that the reburial service should contain Roman Catholic elements, and so it did. I think your anger is misplaced and perhaps this film will be of more interest to you than you imagine.

      1. Hi Matt,
        Some of the comments show how upset people are that he wasn’t buried in York. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought I read that some people didn’t really want him buried in York or either didn’t really care. Are you familiar with this and if so could you elaborate? Thanks.

      2. There is some debate about a possible intention to be buried at York Minster before he was king. For me, it’s not as important as trying to explore his reputation. It worries me it has been a divisive distraction.

  5. The only objection I had to the project was the reburial in Leicester,Westminster Abbey would have been appropriate for the King, York Mister would have been more fitting both for the King and the well-loved Lord of the North.

    1. Legally Richard could only have been reburied in Leicester Cathedral. Westminster has not been used to bury any Monarchs for over 250 years. The license and general reburial rules after someone is found in an archaeological dig insist that they are buried in the nearest appropriate holy ground.

      Richard iii had no choice in the burial of his remains as his fate was decided by the man who replaced him and stole his crown, Henry Tudor.
      Richard was given a simple but Catholic funeral and Mass was said at the time of his translation to a new burial site. The Catholic Church states that full Catholic rites are not necessary if a person was originally buried as a Catholic. He was originally buried in a Friary Church and it’s ridiculous to even think he didn’t receive even a simple form of Catholic burial rite.

      There is no evidence that Richard wanted to be buried in York and getting angry about the events of five years ago is selfish and utterly disrespectful. He was a human being not something to be argued over and the fuss created by the minority Plantagenet League was in poor taste.

      The service in Leicester and the additional services had Catholic elements and Catholic clergy as well. York didn’t want him, the dean said she didn’t want him. Any service in York would not have been a Catholic service and York were free to give him a service as well. It makes perfect logistical sense for Richard to be honoured in Leicester and his tomb is beautiful as is the setting. As interesting as the debate was, carrying it on now in order to score cheap points is disappointing.

      1. Greetings,
        Nobody is amgry or disrespectful about anything, so don’t get upset. It seems to me and others just sad that Richard III’s mortal remains were not allowed to come home here to Yorkshire where he belongs.

      2. Hello Margaret, I respect your feelings, I respect you feel sad Richard wasn’t buried in Yorkshire, but its a matter of opinion as to whether he belonged in Yorkshire or not, but that’s fine. The debate however, was conducted in a rather needlessly destructive manner by all concerned and that’s something which was disrespectful to his reputation and memory. I am not saying you or anyone is being personally disrespectful, I am sure that is not the intention of anyone here, but the legal action was. Richard’s reputation is more important than where he was buried five years ago. Had Richard won the Battle of Bosworth, however, it is unlikely he would have chosen to be buried in Yorkshire. The more likely place at that time would have been Westminster Abbey or in the Chapel of Saint George his brother had been buried in and other Kings. Either way, York Minster was not a clear choice for Richard, either as Duke of Gloucester or as King Richard iii. He may have chosen to be buried there had he not been offered the crown. I am sure York would have made a good job of his reburial, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with his translation from Greyfriars to Saint Martin’s. I would recommend a visit to his tomb if you need closure. It is a wonderful and beautiful experience.

      3. Hi Bandit Queen,
        Thank you very much for your detailed reply.
        I, and other Richard III advocates, would possibly disagree with your premise. However, we all have our points of view and we all think we are in the right, whether we are or not.
        I can only speak for myself and those I know personally, but were any “closure” needed, it was achieved a long time ago. Nobody is angry. Everybody has “moved on”. …with apologies for the psychobabble terminology.
        May I recommend “Richard III, the Maligned King” by Annette Carson. It is a scholarly piece of research which clarifies a great deal, and definitively clarifies the question of “the Princes in the Tower”.
        Very best wishes,
        Margaret Ellis.

  6. Hi Matt,
    Not at all angry. Just tired of the injustices which continue to be done to this maligned king.
    A funeral containing “elements” of Roman Catholicism is not acceptable to or for a Roman Catholic.
    I have no idea who the archaeologist was and the “her” to whom I refer is indeed Philippa Langley. I couldn’t remember her name.
    I have nothing against the film per se and I look forward to seeing Steve Coogan in role.
    I just wish somebody, somewhere, some time would give the Lord of the North justice.

    1. I know that Philippa Langley cares very much about Richard III and that all respect was accorded to him both as a person and as a King. She was as upset as anyone that Leicester backtracked and insisted he be buried in Leicester. Philippa, as well as John Ashdown Hill and many others fought many battles that the public just did not get to see or hear about. Philippa, I know, has the utmost respect for Richard III – the Looking For Richard Project was certainly NOT a vanity project. She cares deeply what happened. I personally don’t agree with Richard III being buried in Leicester and feel it was, to a large extent, a commercial decision as Leicester earned millions on the back of this in the first year alone after the discovery. However, there is no way that Richard III’s remains will ever now be moved and we need to move on. Philippa has also started a project to establish what happened to the princes in the tower – seeing as the supposed murder of the princes is one of the main accusations still slung at a much maligned king despite there being no evidence of murder at all. Philippa is still fighting for Richard III and his reputation and I for one support her.

      1. Hi Margaret Breen,
        Just a suggestion:
        “Richard III: The Maligned King” by Annette Carson is a scholarly, well-written examination of the case.
        I don’t think any of Richard III’s supporters will ever forget the final insult, although I think we have all “moved on” as they say.
        Best wishes,
        Margaret Ellis.

  7. This is really exciting news, a welcome change to have something to look forward to! I didn’t even know Philippa had a husband! But irrespective of Steve Coogan, the idea of being able to relive the momentous events and perhaps learn new aspects/details is very exciting.

  8. Hi Matt, this is the first I’ve heard of this, as I’ve been taking some time away from social media and all its negativity. I hope you’re right in what you say, and that this film will be a truthful depiction of what really happened with Philippa and John, including other things the archaeologists and Leicester Uni got wrong. It would be nice too, to think the film might portray the fact of how most Ricardians were angry and upset to know that Richard was being interred with a C of E funeral, and in Leicester too. We all know how much Richard would have wanted to return to York where he’d already made provisions, but these people had no intention of considering Richard or any of his wishes. We can only hope that this film will go a long way to putting a lot of things about Richard right, and hopefully go some way to restoring his reputation. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?

  9. I think a new film about the dig, which hopefully be based on fact and sensitive is a great idea. Thanks for sharing this and answering concerns and questions.

      1. Thanks, Margaret, I have read Annette Carson book several times and I agree with your recommendation, highly well researched and documented, although I disagree with her premise on the death of Edward iv, but her study on the alleged bones in the Urn in Westminster and the Archives of Portugal regarding the forthcoming alliance between Richard and Joanne, as his potential forthcoming wife is excellent. Her more recent work on the role of Richard and the office of High Constable of England and Lord Protector is a work of real value. Highly recommended.

      2. Hello again,
        I’ll try to get a copy of the book you recommend.
        Whereabouts are you based? I’m near Ingleton in North Yorkshire. It would be good if we could meet up for a socially distanced chat. I hope there will be a Richard III weekend at Middleham next year. It’s always such a happy occasion.
        Best wishes,
        Margaret Ellis.

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