Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has the – ever so slightly dubious – honour of being the most adapted novel of all time (more than Pride and Prejudice!!) so goodness knows why it’s taken so long for the origin story…?
Spoilers may follow.
What’s it about?
In 1842, things weren’t going swimmingly for Charles Dickens – the internationally beloved legend of literature. Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby had already made him a household name across Britain and America, whilst the success of The Old Curiosity Shop was unprecedented. However, his latest periodical tale, Martin Chuzzlewit was proving less popular. Sales were, relatively, low and the writer was facing financial troubles.
With a fifth child on the way back home, and the threat of a slashed income from his publishers, Dickens had to act. Putting pen to paper in October 1843, six weeks later A Christmas Carol was complete.
The Man Who Created Christmas – a title which refers to the surge in seasonal celebratory traditions that occurred in the wake of the novel’s publication – explores the journey of those six frenzied weeks of writing, to unearth the inspirations that brought the story to life.
Who’s in it?
Having undergone a substantial shave since his role in Beauty and the Beast earlier this year, former Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens takes on the role of Dickens, with the great Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones‘ High Sparrow, more recently) as his financially feckless father.
Christopher Plummer is the latest in a long line (Albert Finney, Michael Caine, Kermit the Frog…) to tackle old Ebenezer Scrooge in the film, with Donald Sumpter as Jacob Marley and Annette Badland in the born-to-play role of Mrs Fezziwig.
Playing non-fictional characters are Morfydd Clark, Justin Edwards and a Dickens’ authority himself Simon Callow, as the writer’s wife Catherine, friend John Forster and illustrator Leech respectively.
Fellow British treasures, Miriam Margolyes, Ian McNeice and Bill Paterson star too, with newcomer Anna Murphy as the family’s Irish housemaid Tara.
Who’s made it?
The film is based on Les Standiford’s meticulously researched book of the same name, with the Tarragon Theatre of Canada’s current resident playwright, Susan Coyne, having translated page to screen.
On directing duties, meanwhile, is Bharat Nalluri, known for Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and 2015’s Spooks: The Greater Good (Nalluri directed the television series’ first episodes too).
Music comes courtesy of the Oscar winning composer of Life of Pi, Mychael Danna, whilst terrific cinematography should be assured from Goodbye Christopher Robin and Belle‘s Ben Smithard.
When’s it out?
This one’s got a US release lined up for 22 November, a week ahead of the UK…do we care? Bah humbug! December 1 is a much more appropriate date for a Christmas film! Someone tell the Bad Moms…
Watch the trailer here: