Ralph Fiennes to star as Handel in new comedy film

Friday 27th April 2018, 1:03pm

  • Ralph Fiennes is to star as the composer Handel in a new British comedy film
  • Hallelujah! is about the struggles of cantankerous Handel to make the Messiah music
  • Directed by Chris Addison, the movie is due to be filmed in 2019
Ralph Fiennes

Ralph Fiennes is to star as the composer Handel in Hallelujah!, a new British comedy film.

Deadline.com reports the movie is set to be directed by The Thick Of It Star star Chris Addison. He has previously directed episodes of TV shows like Veep.

Written by Jon Croker and Nicholas Adams, Hallelujah! is reportedly due to be filmed in 2019.

Deadline journalist Andreas Wiseman describes the project as "a feel-good comedy drama described to me as being in the vein of Shakespeare In Love. It tells the story of Handel's canonical piece of music Messiah and its chaotic, spectacular first performance."

The trade publication says: "Set in a riotous 18th Century London and Dublin, the farce follows the drink-sodden and cantankerous Handel who is a forgotten man to all but his whip-smart valet. Worse still, he has lost his inspiration to compose. However, when he overhears the singing of famous actress Susannah Cibber, the composer is moved to write once again and King George II tasks him to create an oratorio to celebrate the new Irish Viceroy in Dublin.

"Yet, when Handel approaches Susannah with the news, he is shocked to learn that not only does she has a fear of singing in public, she's also on the run from her vengeful husband. The motley crew travel to Dublin only to realise that London's gin-soaked alleys are no match for the competing, sectarian politics of Dublin's choirs, the stupidity of English overlords, and the hypocritical morals of the day. Confronted with these odds, Handel has no choice but to defy his critics and keep going. The shown must go on."

Producer Andrew Eaton, who is making the film with Gina Carter, said: "Hallelujah! has been a passion project for me and Gina for a few years. We are thrilled to have Ralph Fiennes and Chris Addison on board and to be partnering with our friends at Altitude on a film we all feel has enormous international and commercial potential."

This will be the first major comedy role for Harry Potter star Ralph Fiennes since he played the Bishop of London in BBC series Rev.

Hallelujah! is also the name of an un-related 1980s ITV sitcom in which Thora Hird played the leader of a Salvation Army band.

Further casting details are expected to be revealed about Hallelujah! when production gets underway.

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