Stan & Ollie is the sort of movie that Martin Scorsese does backflips over—even at age 76. The Oscar-winning filmmaker and historian was on hand Sunday night for a special screening of the new film, along with director Jon S. Baird, screenwriter Jeff Pope, makeup designer Mark Coulier, and stars John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan. Co-hosting with Vanity Fair at NeueHouse in Manhattan, Scorsese introduced the buddy biopic of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy by first and foremost praising its pair of stars: the “incomparable” Coogan and Reilly, a two-time Scorsese collaborator in Gangs of New York and The Aviator.

“Its quite remarkable that somehow, I dont say that they play the parts, it just seems that they inhabit the people,” Scorsese said. “They inhabit these two men, these two great artists. Its almost as if were seeing them alive again, and its through the heart. Its not through anything thats technical. Its almost like a new [Laurel and Hardy] movie of theirs. Its quite beautiful.”

Over the course of a 30-minute panel discussion with Vanity Fairs Mike Hogan, Coogan and Reilly revealed how they brought these figures to the screen so precisely. The actors related to Laurel and Hardys dynamic; not unlike the men theyre playing, who became a comedy duo thanks to film producer Hal Roach, Coogan and Reilly had not worked together before signing on for Stan & Ollie. “That whole process of finding their relationship, essentially in an artificial situation, it was replicating what happened all those years ago,” Pope explained.

They found their footing in the rehearsal room. Laurel and Hardys gags only looked easy and seamless; as Reilly pointed out, that was the result of hours upon hours of hard preparation. Thats exactly what he and Coogan had to do for several weeks leading up to the shoot.

“Its funny, because Steve and I kind of found our own relationship and found the relationship of Stan and Ollie by rehearsing these bits and creating them,” Reilly said. “The hotel-clerk routine and the double-door routine—that stuff was sort of alluded to by people who had seen the theatrical tours, but there was no film of it, so we werent actually re-creating something that they did. We were just trying to do something that was inspired by their work.”

Reilly was so inspired by his deep dive into Hardy that he still finds himself returning to his films. The Oscar nominee got a big laugh when he relayed a tale that happened hours earlier: “I was just watching them today, and just laughing out loud in the bathtub with the iPad,” he said. “The timing is just exquisite! Its almost like a musical score, the way the gags unfold. So it was a real challenge, but I have to say a very joyful day at work to try to find that sort of work.”

Coogan was similarly inspired by tapping into Laurel—a man, he explained, whom he could empathize with despite his flaws. In a previous interview with Hogan, Reilly praised the “analytical aspect” of Coogans comedy style. Coogan agreed that, like Laurel, his approach to comedy can be technical, and somewhat obsessive.

“Good comedy is very technical and almost surgical—a certain kind of comedy, if you like, and Stan and Is comedy comes down to that kind of craft and specificity,” Coogan said. “Oliver worked to live, and Stanley lived to work. Stanley was obsessive in that way, in such a way that his real life suffered. But certainly for me playing him, although I was playing someone who isnt me, I felt a great deal of empathy for that kind of obsessiveness. It wasnt a huge leap. I felt like I understood that universe.”

Seeing two celebrated actors together on-screen, and then witnessing their rapport and mutual respect, Hogan couldnt help asking by panels end if the two might take their chemistry to Hollywoods biggest stage: the Oscars. Would they ever consider hosting?

“Oh, that would be great, wouldnt it?” Baird chimed in, before Coogan came in with a quip: “It just depends on if Johns prepared to put on that fat suit on.”

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After a good laugh, Reilly conceded that he would host—with one major (and certainly deal-quashing) caveat: “Ill do it if they dont televise it,” he said. “[If] its just like what it should be—like an end-of-the-year salesman convention in a ballroom somewhere, Ill do that. Thatd be fun.”

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