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Mike Newell

05 October 2011

David Nicholls’ big screen adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic will be directed by Mike Newell and will start shooting on 10th October for 10 weeks in the UK.  Starring a stellar British cast, the film will be produced by Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen from Number 9 Films and David Faigenblum produces on behalf of Ulti-Media.

Mike Newell, BAFTA award winning director of Four Weddings and A Funeral and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, directs a high calibre ensemble cast including BAFTA winner and Academy Award nominee Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech, Alice in Wonderland) as Miss Havisham, BAFTA winner and Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes (Schindler’s List, The English Patient) as the convict Magwitch, Robbie Coltrane (Bond, Harry Potter) as Jaggers and newcomer Jeremy Irvine, fresh from his lead role in Spielberg’s War Horse, as Pip.  They are joined by Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting), Jason Flemyng (X-Men: First Class), Sally Hawkins (Happy Go Lucky, Made in Dagenham), Tamzin Outhwaite (‘Sweet Charity’), David Walliams (‘Little Britain’) and Holliday Grainger ('The Borgias') as Estella.

Young orphan Pip is given a chance to rise from his humble beginnings thanks to a mysterious benefactor. Moving through London’s class ridden world as a gentleman, Pip uses his new found position to pursue the beautiful Estella; a spoilt heiress he’s loved since childhood. Yet the shocking truth behind his great fortune will have devastating consequences for everything he holds dear.

This adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic and finest novel is produced by award winning partners Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley (Made in Dagenham, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, The Crying Game) and written by acclaimed screenwriter and novelist David Nicholls (One Day).  The film has been financed by BBC Films, the BFI Film Fund and US based Ulti-Media Group, Inc.  Ulti-Media's David Faigenblum (360, A Late Quartet) will produce and Ulti-Media Group, Inc, will also handle North American rights.  Zygi Kamasa from Lionsgate UK will also executive produce.  HanWay Films will handle worldwide sales and the film has already been sold in the UK to Lionsgate Films, in Germany to Senator and in Australia to Universal.

Mike Newell said: “‘Great Expectations’ has been a book that has haunted me since childhood and it is a privilege to bring to the screen one of the greatest stories in the world. David Nicholls' screenplay has brought Charles Dickens' work to life for a new audience young and old, reminding us that, in two hundred years, so little has fundamentally changed in our world. And, as always, human nature triumphs over adversity."

Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley at Number 9 Films commented: “We are very excited about making Great Expectations, the jewel in the crown of Charles Dickens double centenary year. We will be working very closely with Lionsgate in the UK and with our partners Ulti-Media in America to make Great Expectations a truly theatrical event. It’s doubly thrilling to be working with the wonderful Mike Newell and once again with Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Flemyng, Robbie Coltrane, Sally Hawkins as well as a fabulous young new cast.”

Chris Collins, Senior Production Executive at the BFI, added: “The BFI is delighted to help make this film possible. Dickens' classic story, brilliantly adapted by David Nicholls, along with Mike Newell's direction and the superb array of British acting talent suggest that this production will itself become a classic of British cinema.”

Award-winning producing partners Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen established Number 9 Films after a long collaboration at both Palace and Scala Productions.  In 2005 the company was awarded one of the much sought after Slate Development Funding schemes by the UK Film Council. The company quickly went on to establish itself as one of the UK’s leading independent production companies forging relationships with a wide range of talent in the UK, across Europe and in the States. The company aims to produce between 2 and 3 films a year with a young and vibrant production and development team, headed by Kate Lawrence, who has been with the company for over 8 years.

2010 saw the release of the UK number 1 hit Made in Dagenham, a social comedy set during the 1968 Ford machinists strike, written by Billy Ivory (Women in Love), directed by Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls) and starring Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Rosamund Pike and Miranda Richardson. The film was nominated for four BAFTA awards. It was released in the States by Sony Picture Classics. Also released last year was Mark O’Rowe’s (Boy A, Intermission) Perrier’s Bounty directed by Ian Fitzgibbon and starring Cillian Murphy and Jim Broadbent.

This year Number 9 Films is currently in pre-production on two films. Firstly an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations scripted by David Nicholls (One Day), to be directed by Mike Newell, starring Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane and Jeremy Irvine (Spielberg’s War Horse). It will be lit by Oscar-nominated cinematographer John Mathieson, with production design by BAFTA-winning Jim Clay, hair and makeup by Oscar-winning Jenny Shircore and costume by Beatrix Aruna Pasztor. It will be released by Lionsgate UK.

Secondly, Byzantium, a vampire story written by Moira Buffini (Jane Eyre, Tamara Drewe)  is to be directed by Neil Jordan and star Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton. Hyena, a low budget second feature by writer-director Gerard Johnson about a corrupt policeman working in London’s Albanian and Turkish communities, will go into production in early 2012.

Future Number 9 projects include Strangers, a chilling ghost story adapted by Conor McPherson, The End of Sleep written by Mark O’Rowe, The Limehouse Golem adapted from Peter Ackroyd’s novel by screenwriter Jane Goldman (X:Men, Kick Ass), and Carol, Phyllis Nagy's adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel.

BBC Films is the feature filmmaking arm of the BBC. It aims to make strong British films with range and ambition, bringing the best of British talent to audiences. BBC Films is firmly established at the forefront of British independent filmmaking and co-produces around eight films a year, working in partnership with major international and UK distributors. Christine Langan is the Head of BBC Films, responsible for the development and production slate, strategy and business operations.

Recent releases include David Mackenzie’s You Instead, Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre, James Marsh’s Project Nim, Justin Chadwick’s The First Grader,Andy de Emmony's West is West, Rowan Joffe's Brighton Rock, Nigel Cole's Made in Dagenham, Stephen Frears’ Tamara Drewe, Debs Gardner-Paterson’s Africa United and Max and Dania’s StreetDance - Britain’s first-ever 3-D movie.

Forthcoming films include, David Mackenzie’s romantic thriller Perfect Sense which releases on 7 October 2011 and Lynne Ramsay’s adaptation of the Winner for the Orange Prize for Fiction We Need to Talk About Kevin which opens on 21 October 2011. Nick Murphy’s supernatural mystery The Awakening opens on 11 November, alongside Jes Benstock’s documentary feature on artist Andrew Logan The British Guide to Showing Off. Simon Curtis’ comedy drama My Week With Marilyn opens on 18 November after opening the New York Film Festival. Also coming soon are Ralph Fiennes’ contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Lasse Hallström’s romantic comedy Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and Fernando Meirelles’ contemporary drama 360.

BBC Films has an impressive back catalogue, which includes titles such as Lone Scherfig’s Academy Award® nominated and BAFTA award-winning An Education; Armando Iannucci’s Academy Award® and BAFTA award-nominated In the Loop; Jane Campion’s Academy Award® nominated Bright Star; and Andrea Arnold’s BAFTA award-winning Fish Tank.


Twitter @BBCFilms


The Film Fund funds bold and exciting British films and brilliant filmmakers.??Great Expectations was supported by the British Film Institute’s Film Fund. On 1 April 2011, the Film Fund moved from the UK Film Council to the BFI, which became the lead body for film in the UK.??Films backed by the Film Fund through the UK Film Council include Steve McQueen's Shame and Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights, Lynne Ramsay's We Need To Talk About Kevin, shown In Competition at Cannes this year, Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady, Fernando Meirelles’s 360, Ken Loach’s The Angel’s Share, Terence Davies’s The Deep Blue Sea, James Marsh's Project Nim, Ben Wheatley's Kill List, Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio, Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna, and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin.  Recent releases include the American Academy® award-winning The King’s Speech directed by Tom Hooper, Joe Cornish's Attack the Block, Richard Ayoade’s Submarine, Clio Barnard's The Arbor, Nigel Cole's Made in Dagenham, Mike Leigh's Another Year, Peter Mullan's Neds and Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini’s Streetdance 3D.

The Film Fund has worked with a number of filmmakers whose films have been selected for the major international festivals this autumn including Steve McQueen’s Shame and Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights which have just won awards at the Venice Film Festival and Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea, which screened recently at San Sebastian. These films were also at Toronto alongside Lynne Ramsay’s We Need To Talk About Kevin, Michael Winterbottom’s Trishna, Fernando Meirelles’s 360 written by Peter Morgan, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Woman In The Fifth, Mark Cousins’s The Story of Film and the David Cronenberg co-production A Dangerous Method.  In addition, 360 and The Deep Blue Sea have been selected as the opening and closing gala premieres at the 55th BFI London Film Festival.??The BFI’s ambition is to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:

• Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema

• Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations

• Championing emerging and world class film makers in the UK

• Investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work

• Promoting British film and talent to the world

• Growing the next generation of filmmakers and audiences

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