By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com August 19, 2011 at 12:57PM
With 2012 marking the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth, it's no surprise that there's a whole spate of Dickens-related projects in the works. Ralph Fiennes, for instance, is directing biopic "The Invisible Woman," "Oliver Twist" is getting a 21st century spin in British 3D parkour actioner "Twist" (don't blame us, we didn't come up with the thing...) and even Guillermo del Toro wants to get involved at some stage, developing an adaptation of Dan Simmons' novel "Drood," which investigates the horrifying secret behind Dickens' last, unfinished work. And of course, there are straight adaptations on the way too, most notably a pair of versions of "Great Expectations."
One is being made for television by the BBC, directed by future "Thor 2" helmer Brian Kirk and starring Gillian Anderson and Ray Winstone, while the other, also bafflingly from the BBC, is intended for the big screen, with "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and "Four Weddings and a Funeral" helmer Mike Newell directing. Jeremy Irvine, the young lead of Steven Spielberg's "War Horse," will play Pip, the young orphan hero, while Holliday Grainger, of Playlist favorite "The Scouting Book for Boys," will play the object of his affection, Estella. As for the adults, Ralph Fiennes will play escaped convict Magwitch, Helena Bonham-Carter has the key role of Miss Havisham, and now Baz Bamigboye reports that one more actor is joining as well: Jason Flemyng.
Flemyng's been working for 20 years now, but really broke through as one of the leads in Guy Ritchie's "Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels." Since then, he's worked almost non-stop, occasionally taking parts in big Hollywood projects ("From Hell," "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"), as well as more leading man-type roles at home. Recent years have seen him doing as well as he's ever done, mixing make-up-heavy roles in giant blockbusters like "Clash of the Titans" and "X-Men: First Class" with more auteur-driven flicks like "Hanna," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "Shifty."
Flemyng will play Joe Gargery, a kindly blacksmith and husband to Pip's cruel older sister, who becomes something of a father figure to young Pip -- a role last played on the big screen by Chris Cooper in Alfonso Cuaron's 1998 contemporary reworking of the novel. It's a decent part, a good break for Flemyng, and will hopefully give the actor more to do than hang around the background and not say anything like he did in 'X-Men.' The film shoots in the fall, so it'll likely end up being placed as an awards contender in the latter half of 2012.