Hugh Bonneville becomes Roald Dahl in first look trailer for 'To Olivia'

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2-min read

Sky Cinema has revealed the first trailer for Hugh Bonneville’s performance as iconic children’s author Roald Dahl in the upcoming biopic To Olivia.

The Paddington and Downton Abbey star will portray the author in the film, which focuses on his marriage to Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal, played by Keeley Hawes.

Read more: Which is the best-loved Roald Dahl movie?

Director John Hay’s movie is adapted from Stephen Michael Shearer's biography of Neal, with the film set to depict her work with Paul Newman – portrayed by Sam Heughan – on the movie which won her Oscar, Hud.

To Olivia is set in the aftermath of the death of the couple’s eldest daughter, who gives the movie its name and passed away in 1962 aged just seven after contracting measles encephalitis.

Dahl became a strong advocate for vaccines in the wake of Olivia’s tragic passing.

Hugh Bonneville as Roald Dahl in 'To Olivia'. (Credit: Sky Cinema)
Hugh Bonneville as Roald Dahl in To Olivia. (Sky Cinema)

The official synopsis for the movie reads, in part: “As the couple struggle through the unimaginable loss, their shared grief becomes a source of redemption and strength which changes their lives forever.”

Dahl would go on to pen many of his most famous works after Olivia’s death, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda.

Read more: Anne Hathaway apologises after Witches disability controversy

Many of his stories have subsequently been adapted for the big and small screens, with The Witches most recently arriving courtesy of Robert Zemeckis.

That movie starred Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch and was released directly to streaming service HBO Max in the USA, while UK viewers could access it via premium video-on-demand.

Roald Dahl, pictured in 1971. (Photo by Ronald Dumont/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Roald Dahl, pictured in 1971. (Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

There are myriad future Dahl adaptations in the works, including several born from a partnership between Netflix and The Roald Dahl Story Company.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is getting several animated series from the mind of Taika Waititi on the streaming platform, while a movie adaptation of comedian Tim Minchin’s Matilda the Musical is also in the works.

Read more: Matilda statue stands up to Donald Trump

Dahl, who passed away aged 74 in 1990, didn’t always love the adaptations of his novels, with the 1971 classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory famously far from being his favourite.

To Olivia is due to be released via Sky Cinema and in UK cinemas on 19 February.

Watch: Roald Dahl’s family say sorry for late author’s anti-Semitic remark