'The Lost King': Richard III's Remains Were Discovered Under A Parking Garage, And There Will Be A Film About It

Are you ready for a Philomena reunion? Good, because English actor, writer, and comedian Steve Coogan (Philomena) is reuniting with his old Philomena co-writer Jeff Pope to tackle the screenplay for The Lost King, a new drama/comedy from Philomena director Stephen Frears. Will Dame Judi Dench, who actually played the titular Philomena, eventually get involved and make this reunion even more robust? One can only hope.

As for The Lost King, the film is based on the true story of the unlikely discovery of King Richard III's remains, which were discovered by an amateur sleuth who, after years of research, realized that he was buried under a modern day parking lot.

Deadline reports that Coogan and Pope, who also collaborated to write the screenplay for the 2018 biopic Stan & Ollie, are teaming up to write The Lost King, which two-time Oscar nominee Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, The Queen) will direct.

King Richard III was the last English king to be killed in battle. He died in 1485 and was buried in a friary in the town of Leicester, but his remains ended up being lost after the dissolution and demolition of the friary. Millennia later, a woman named Philippa Langley, the leader of the Scottish branch of the Richard III Society (an organization devoted to shifting the reputation of the notorious historical figure), discovered his remains. In 2012, after doing years' worth of research trying to find the king's bones, stood in a parking lot and knew she was standing over the burial site. "The first time I stood in that car park, the strangest feeling just washed over me," she told The Guardian. "I thought: 'I am standing on Richard's grave'." Despite being laughed at by many, she led the efforts to exhume Richard's skeleton and was ultimately proven correct about his final resting place.

Deadline says that "in the global media circus that followed the discovery, Langley's role was often overlooked," but this film will put the spotlight squarely back on her and her determination to find the truth. Coogan will play her husband, but no one has been cast as Philippa yet. Coogan, who apparently wrapped up The Trip film series earlier this year with The Trip to Greece, has been interested in telling this story for years, telling UK paper The Times in 2017, "this Richard film is about the amateur versus the establishment, and intuition versus academia."

Production on The Lost King is set to get underway in the spring of 2021.