Actor Hugh Bonneville has been cast as Roald Dahl in a biopic that explores the life of the best-selling children's author. Hugh will also feature in the new Thomas & Friends film as Merlin.

Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville has signed up to play Roald Dahl in a new biopic about the best-selling children’s author.

The movie will focus on the Charlie And The Chocolate Factory writer’s marriage to Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal and the period in which he struggled to pen some of his most famous works.

Set in the early 1960s, it will move between New York, England and Los Angeles.

Hugh Bonneville
Hugh will also appear as Merlin in the new Thomas & Friends film (Photo: HIT Entertainment/Mattel PR)

 

Producer Elliot Jenkins said he couldn’t ‘imagine anyone better than Hugh Bonneville’ to bring on-screen ‘the ambivalent nature of Roald Dahl’s life’ reported Variety.

“He was such a man of wounded parts below his polished veneer of self-confidence,” he said.

The actress playing his wife, Hud star Patricia, is yet to be announced.

Hugh Bonneville
Hugh will also appear as Merlin in the new Thomas & Friends film (Photo: HIT Entertainment/Mattel PR)

 

The as-yet-untitled film will track the ‘personal triumphs and tragedies behind the marriage of two globally known superstars’.

James And The Giant Peach and The BFG author Dahl married Breakfast At Tiffany’s actress Patricia in 1953, but the couple divorced in 1983.

The casting came as Hugh was also announced as the voice of Merlin in the new Thomas & Friends film, Journey Beyond Sodor, which will hit cinemas later this summer.

The actor said: “To play an engine in one of Thomas’s adventures is a big thrill for a little boy in a grown-up body.

“At their heart, these are tales of friendship, adventure and lessons learned from mistakes made, all while trying to keep on the railway tracks.”