New UK sales company Protagonist Pictures has taken on its first third-party project, Armando Iannucci's In The Loop.

Principal photography has now started on the BBC Films, UK Film Council and Aramid Entertainment project.

Optimum Releasing has pre-bought UK theatrical rights to the political comedy.

Tom Hollander, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison, Peter Capaldi, Gina McKee and Steve Coogan star.

Iannucci co-wrote the original screenplay with Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Tony Roche and Ian Martin (the team behind BBC TV hit The Thick Of It).

The story is about US and UK ministers bungling the road to military action.

Kevin Loader and Adam Tandy are producing. Christine Langan of BBC Films is executive producing with ex-BBC Films head David M Thompson.

In The Loop will be shot on location in London, New York and Washington, DC.

Iannucci, who has also written for satire show The Day Today and Coogan-starring I'm Alan Partridge, said: 'In these troubled times, I'm delighted that so many talented actors and writers are willing to come and make a comedy about a war on both sides of the Atlantic, and grateful to the BBC and the UK Film Council for their support.'

Protagonist, backed by Film 4, Ingenious and Vertigo, adds In The Loop to its first Cannes market slate which also includes The Day, The Trail, Faintheart, and Bronson.