Film - BFI London Film Festival


The European Premiere of Armando Iannucci’s The Personal History of David Copperfield will open the 63rd BFI London Film Festival in October...

Press Release

The 63rd BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is thrilled to announce that this year’s Opening Night gala will be The Personal History of David Copperfield, directed by the multi-award-winning writer, filmmaker and broadcaster Armando Iannucci and starring BAFTA Award winner Dev Patel as David Copperfield. The film will receive its European Premiere on Wednesday 2nd October at Odeon Luxe, Leicester Square. 

This fresh take on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, boasts a stellar British cast, led by Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw, Paul Whitehouse and Gwendoline Christie; many of whom are expected on the red carpet in Leicester Square. 

An avid Dickens fan, Armando Iannucci (the award-winning writer/director of The Thick of It, In the Loop, Veep and The Death of Stalin) adapts the story alongside frequent collaborator Simon Blackwell, employing his comedic mastery and vivid characterizations to bring to life one of Dickens’ most cherished characters in The Personal History of David Copperfield. From birth to infancy, from adolescence to adulthood, the good-hearted David Copperfield is surrounded by kindness, wickedness, poverty and wealth, as he meets an array of remarkable characters in Victorian England. As David sets out to be a writer, in his quest for family, friendship, romance and status, the story of his life is the most seductive tale of all.

Iannucci, who serves also as director and producer as well as co-writer, commented “It’s a huge thrill and honour to be asked to open the fantastic BFI London Film Festival. ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’ is a film about compassion, humour, generosity and friendship, and I couldn’t have asked for a more welcoming setting in which to premiere it.”

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director added “Scotland’s Armando Iannucci is one of the most prodigiously talented and original filmmakers hailing from the UK. The Personal History of David Copperfield shows his trademark wit and a joyous sense of style - it’s a delight from start to finish, with Dev Patel and co-stars delivering performances of megawatt charm and comic flair. I’m so excited to be opening the 63rd BFI London Film Festival with this film which is not only wildly entertaining but also a timely celebration of the power of generosity and compassion.”

Shot on location in the UK, the film is produced by Kevin Loader and Armando Iannucci and stars Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw, Paul Whitehouse, Aneurin Barnard, Daisy May Cooper, Morfydd Clark, Benedict Wong, Gwendoline Christie, Anthony Welsh and Rosalind Eleazar. Suzie Harman and Robert Worley serve as Costume Designers, Cristina Casali as Production Designer, Christopher Willis as Composer and Karen Hartley-Thomas as Hair and Make-up Designer.



The 63rd BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express takes place from Wednesday 3rd October-Sunday 13th October 2019. The full Festival programme will be announced on Thursday 29 August 2019.