It wasn’t but a week or two ago that a satire starring Will Ferrell as Ronald Reagan during his years with Alzheimer’s was struck down by internet outrage, and now we’ve got news that another political satire about a dead leader is full-steam ahead. Of course, the fact that it’s a satire about Stalin (and called The Death of Stalin) probably protects it from any real outrage, as does the fact that it’s being directed by Armando Iannucci, who created the HBO show Veep, among many other funny things.
The two folks who have just signed on are Steve Buscemi and Jeffrey Tambor, who will respectively play Nikita Khrushchev — who eventually replaced Stalin — and Georgy Malenkov, who really wanted to replace Stalin. According to reports in The Guardian, Michael Palin, Timothy Dalton, Olga Kurylenko, Toby Kebbel, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine and Andrea Riseborough are all also set to star.
The film is based on the graphic novel The Death of Stalin, and is set in 1953, days after Stalin’s death and before his funeral ceremonies. The Father of Nations reportedly died of cerebral hemorrhage, but due to that illness’s lack of obvious physical evidence, conspiracy theories surrounding the “actual” cause of Stalin’s death abound. In fact, in 2003 new evidence was shown to support the popular theory of Stalin’s having been poisoned.
Whether or not these possible causes of death will play into the chaotic political shuffling that is set to transpire in Iannucci’s film, who knows! What we do know is that it’s got a stellar cast, and that it’s shooting this year.