Magazine article Screen International

Expectations Running High

Magazine article Screen International

Expectations Running High

Article excerpt

Dickens purists should look away now - David Nicholls has revealed that he has written an alternative ending for his forthcoming adaptations of Great Expectations.

Screenwriter David Nicholls, who is adapting the latest feature version of Great Expectations for the big screen (directed by Mike Newell and starring Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter) revealed today that he has "come up with an ending that isn't in the book."

"Dickens came up with two endings, one which is incredibly bleak and one which is unrealistcally romantic and sentimental. Neither are quite satisfactory and we've tried to read a middle path. It's somewhere in between. It draws on events in the book and takes them in a slightly different direction," admitted Nicholls at the launch of the BFI's Dickens on Screen retrospective which runs January-March 2012 as part of a year long celebration to mark the 200th anniversary of the author's birth.

"But it's in no way sacrilegious," laughed Nicholls, responding to the audible gasps in the room. "It's a very faithful adaptation, but in our films you do see things that you haven't seen in previous versions."

Nicholls, who revealed that Great Expecations is his favourite book, said that he has drawn on the "film noir" genre for the adaptation, comparing the last act of Great Expectaions to the end of Chinatown. "It is this wonderful unravelling of beautiful intricate plot. There is a femme fatale in Estella, the crimes carried out on children in the past have a legacy on the present day. …

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