Next out of the traps for Mike Newell will be an adaptation of Dickens’ Great Expectations starring Jeremy Irvine as Pip and featuring Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham, described in the novel as looking like a witch, a skeleton and a waxwork. She’s already played two of those for Tim Burton* so it’s not so much of a bold new direction.
Here are two pictures of Carter from Deadline in all her witchy, waxy, skeletal goodness:
Newell has also now picked up a new gig for after Great Expectations, and will be taking over the film of Ian McEwan‘s On Chesil Beach from Sam Mendes. Screen Daily report that Mendes is to serve as a producer on the project, and imply that he has handed over the baton as a result of his gig on the Bond movie, Skyfall, but I do think it’s worth noting a couple of points of history.
Mendes was working on the film back in 2009 and ’10, and production was scheduled to take place last Autumn. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
Just a month or so before its scheduled shoot date, the producers have put the brakes on Sam Mendes’ film of On Chesil Beach. Adapted from Ian McEwan’s 2007 novel by the author himself, the film was set to star Carey Mulligan as half of a honeymooning couple who crash against the expectations of their first sexual encounter.
The Telegraph offered both an official explanation for the freeze:
Pre-production work over-ran. There need to be leaves on the trees. We hope that filming will take place next year. As far as I know, Mendes will still be the director.
…and a less official version too:
[Producers] got cold feet after the last three films directed by Mendes… performed poorly at the box office.
One month later it became clear that Focus Features had withdrawn their funding from the film. To date I’ve not seen an explanation as to why, besides the Telegraph’s comment about Mendes’ string of tanks.
Newell’s version has Studio Canal making up the short fall in financing left by Focus’ exit. I can surmise what I want, but I guess we’ll have to wait some time for the facts to become clear. We’re also waiting to hear if Carey Mulligan, once attached in the Mendes era, will still be in the frame.
*I reckon he’s also got a House of Wax-type picture in him somewhere too. Bring it on.