Brit director Mike Newell, whose big-budget studio entries Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Prince of Persia are a far cry from earlier works such as Four Weddings and Funeral and Enchanted April, will begin shooting David Nicholls’ adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations in the UK on October 10.
Newell has lured a bevy of top Brit talent: Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Contrane, Jason Flemyng, Sally Hawkins and The Borgias ingenue Holliday Grainger. Nicholls’ recent adaptation of his own novel, One Day (directed by Lone Scherfig, with Anna Hathaway and Jim Sturgess), wasn’t the career boost he may have hoped. Dickens should be more felicitous. Historically, Dickens’ sprawling narratives have worked on film; Great Expectations has been adapted some 17 times for film and television. Newell says: “David Nicholls’ screenplay has brought Charles Dickens’ work to life for a new audience young and old, reminding us that, in two hundred years, so little has fundamentally changed in our world. And, as always, human nature triumphs over adversity.”
BBC Films, the BFI Film Fund and US based Ulti-Media Group, Inc., are financing the film; Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley are producing alongside Ulti-Media’s David Faigenblun. Lionsgates Films has UK distribution rights, Senator has German and Universal has Australian.