The ever-alluring Ralph Fiennes is taking on the role of Charles Dickens in a film based on Claire Tomalin’s award winning book The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens. Fiennes is also directing. The movie tells the strange, painful love story of Dickens and Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), the young actress who met Dickens at 18 when she was performing in his production of The Frozen Deep. They fell passionately in love at the height of Dickens’ career when he was perhaps the most famous man in England. He was 30 years her senior and they had a secret affair with until his death in 1870. The relationship causes Dickens to separate from his wife, Catherine (Joanna Scanlan), who had borne him 10 children, but kept Nelly — entirely in the shadows, to protect his image as an exemplary Victorian gentleman, the very embodiment of that era’s standards of public and private virtue. The real-life events would fit perfectly into a Dickensian Tale.
Of playing the iconic Dickens, Fiennes said, “He still preoccupies me, Dickens, as a person” (New York Times interview.) The film also stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, Michelle Fairley and Joanna Scanlan. It opens on Christmas Day. We can’t wait![youtube AlKt1ssfpbk]
Praise for book:
The Invisible Woman was the recipient of the 1990 James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the 1991 Hawthornden Prize.
“Captivating…An absorbing book about…a character who helps to illuminate the life of a great artist and the life of her times.” –Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“As social history, literary criticism, and, not least, an absorbing detective story, The Invisible Woman is a wonderful book.” –Newsday