Friday, November 11, 2011

Seeing Double

The old saying about waiting a lifetime for a bus to come along only for two to come along at once does not just apply to public transport, it seems, but increasingly to period dramas also. Above is a newly-released picture of Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham in Mike Newell's Great Expectations movie which is currently filming in London from a script by One Day's David Nicholls. The film looks set to be a lavish affair and will also feature Bonham Carter's Harry Potter co-stars Ralph Fiennes as Abel Magwitch, Robbie Coltrane as Mr Jaggers and Jessie Cave (the late Lavender Brown) as Biddy alongside War Horse's Jeremy Irvine as Pip and The Borgias's Holliday Grainger as Estella. The supporting cast also includes Jason Flemying as Joe Gargery, Sally Hawkins as Mrs Joe, Olly Alexander as Herbert Pocket, Ewen Bremner as Wemmick and Tamzin Outhwaite as Molly. As previously reported on this blog, Gillian Anderson will appear as the jilted lady of Satis House alongside another all-star cast in the BBC's latest three-part adaptation of the Dickens favourite this Christmas and will become the youngest actress to have played the role, narrowly beating the Bonham Carter by two years.

The latest Great Expectations adaptations will bookend a year of celebrations marking two hundred years since Charles Dickens first shuffled onto this mortal coil. 2012 also marks the centenary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in April 1912 and two television series will chronicle the life and times of the doomed luxury liner. As Maria Doyle Kennedy told me back in September, ITV's Titanic is written by Julian Fellowes will feature his characteristic multi-character storytelling and span the social spectrum with a mixture of fictional and real-life passengers. Titanic: Blood and Steel, an Italian/Irish co-production currently filming in Dublin, takes an altogether different approach spanning the socially tumultuous fifteen-year period from 1897 to 1912 in which the ship was conceived, designed and built and Belfast. The international cast features Neve Campbell, Martin McCann, Kate O Toole, Kevin Zegers, Sir Derek Jacobi, Gray O Brien, Charlotte Bradley and Sex and the City's Mr Big, Chris Noth alongside Liam Cunningham and Joely Richardson as legendary politicians and trade-union activists Jim Larkin and Countess Markievicz. Given that Titanic: Blood and Steel leaves off where Titanic begins, perhaps the series will compliment each other nicely when they surface in the spring.

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