Thesp in talks to play lead character Pip

Jeremy Irvine, the British thesp handpicked by Steven Spielberg to star in “War Horse,” is in negotiations to play the lead character of Pip in Mike Newell’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” while Helena Bonham Carter is also in talks to play Miss Havisham.

“One Day” author David Nicholls is adapting the story of an orphan who becomes a distinguished gentleman through an unknown benefactor.

Stephen Woolley (“The Crying Game”) and Elizabeth Karlsen are producing through their Number 9 Films banner.

Irvine is the British newcomer who director Spielberg has set to star in DreamWorks’ WWI drama “War Horse,” set for release Dec. 28. He has worked with both the National Youth Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, though his only screen appearance to date has been in the British TV series “Life Bites.”

Bonham Carter is coming off her second Oscar nom for her perf as Queen Elizabeth in “The King’s Speech.” She will soon re-team with Burton and Johnny Depp on “Dark Shadows.” Thesp next stars as Bellatrix Lestrange in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” which Warner Bros. opens July 15.

Irvine is repped by CAA, while WME and Magnolia Entertainment rep Bonham Carter. Thesps are respectively repped by Hatton McEwan and Conway/Van Gelder/Grant in the U.K.

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