Armando Iannucci has defended casting Dev Patel in his 'David Copperfield' adaptation.

Last month, the 27-year-old actor was cast to play the titular character in 'The Personal History of David Copperfield', an upcoming movie based on the semi-autobiographical novel by CHARLES DICKENS, but now Iannucci, 54, has admitted he cast the 'Skins' actor to ''reflect'' modern day.

When asked if he had got any criticism from Dickensian loyalists at the Rakuten TV Empire Awards 2018 on Sunday (03.18.18), Iannucci said: ''Do they have a voice online?

''No, I mean it was set in 1840 but I wanted it to reflect today and also I don't know anyone else better suited to playing the role.

''At no point in the novel does it say, 'David is a white man'. I just couldn't think of another actor who could do that sort of innocence and get stronger and the vulnerability and then the strength.''

Iannucci also defended adapting a period drama for modern audiences and said he doesn't want his adaptation to have to follow the ''rules of costume drama''.

He said: ''I'm not saying that every period drama should be adapted for modern audiences but that's just what I wanted to do.

''When FilmNation [Entertainment], who are funding it, said, 'Oh you're doing David Copperfield, are you going to do anything different? Why are you doing it?'

''And I explained what I wanted to do with it and they wanted me to do it.

''I wanted it to feel like we don't have to follow the rules of costume drama and how you shoot it and how you speak.''

His latest comedy, 'The Death of Stalin' - which won the Best Comedy at the event at Camden Roundhouse in London - was recently banned in Russia for its satirical portrayal of the Communist leader Joseph Stalin, but Iannucci - who was joined by his daughter Carmella - said all it has done is give it the film a bigger profile in Eastern Europe.

He said: ''I feel sad really because, really do they still ban stuff today? Considering it's a film on digital format.

''So all it's done is give it a high profile in Eastern Europe and it's doing an astonishing business in the Ukraine and I hope we will get it into cinemas because that's where it's meant to be seen.

''Russians who have seen it loved it.''