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Mike Newell Talks Great Expectations
'I wanted to rediscover my soul'

12 March 2012  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  |  Source: Exclusive

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Mike Newell Talks Great Expectations

With the Olympics on and the Queen doing a jubilee, it's easy to forget that there's another British landmark taking place in 2012. It's the bicentennial of the birth of Charles Dickens, the great storyteller of Victorian England. Mike Newell's new take on Great Expectations will give cinemagoers a chance to join the party.

"It has a different tone [to previous adaptations]," Newell tells Empire, fresh from post-production. "It's partly a thriller, but it's partly about treachery and letting people down that you shouldn’t let down."

Great Expectations was last brought to the cinema screen by Alfonso Cuarón - coincidentally another Harry Potter alum - although Newell's version will offer a more, well, Dickensian setting than the Mexican's contemporary take. "I’m very keen on the way the film is," says Newell, "It’s about two abused children: you watch them grow up and see how badly they have been distorted. What you don’t know is if they’re going to survive it."

The two wee'uns are, of course, Pip (Jeremy Irvine) and the cool, beautiful Estella (Holliday Grainger). Newell's cast also boasts the talents of his old Potter mucker Helena Bonham Carter, almost born to play the cobwebby Miss Havisham, and Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch, a big-screen role made terrifying by Finlay Currie in the great David Lean version.

So what drew Newell, a director famously catholic in his choice of films, to the great literary work? “I did it because I wanted to rediscover my soul," he laughs. Did he feel like he lost it making Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time? "A little bit."

Great Expectations is out in the autumn. Watch this space for more.


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Your Comments

RE: Why another BBC version?
I don't think Gillian Anderson was too young at all. She isn't described as old per se in the book, just as dessicated. If you think how young people got married in those days, even if her being jilted at the alter was 20 years ago, that would still only make her about 40. The point is that she seems old to Pip, but Pip's a little boy so any adult seems old to him. We're just used to seeing her portrayed as proper old from all the other films. More

Posted by Osric at 03:58 on 13 March 2012 | Report This Post

RE: Why another BBC version?
The BBC 3-part adaptation over christmas was fantastic television. Gillian Anderson was too young for me as Havishman but it was a strong performance. Best thing in it for me was Ray Winstone as Magwich. I don't think a movie will be long enough to give the story true justice on an emotional level More

Posted by musht at 23:23 on 12 March 2012 | Report This Post

Why another BBC version?
According to IMDB, this film is produced by the BBC. Why are they involved in another version so soon after the TV series? How lazy! More

Posted by Wormie at 20:18 on 12 March 2012 | Report This Post

What are YOU banging on about, potemkin?
If Gillian Anderson 'owned' Miss Havisham in the BBC 'adaptation', I'm damned sure Dickens did not! More

Posted by spinnerslibrarian at 19:56 on 12 March 2012 | Report This Post

What are you banging on about, Empire???
Prince Of Persia was great stuff :) Another Great Expectations?!? Meh. Gillian Anderson owned the Havisham in the BBC series at Christmas - and she was the last person I saw in the role. Why do Fiennes and Carter constantly take roles they can do in their sleep? More outside the box casting please. More

Posted by potemkin1925 at 15:30 on 12 March 2012 | Report This Post

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