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BFI London Film Fest has ‘Expectations’

Newell's adaptation will close event

The European premiere of Mike Newell’s “Great Expectations” will close the 56th BFI London Film Festival on Oct. 21.

The new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic marks the bicentenary of the British novelist’s birth. It stars Jeremy Irvine (“War Horse”) and Holliday Grainger (“The Borgias”) as Pip and Estella alongside an all-star British cast including Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane, Sally Hawkins and Jason Flemyng. Newell, Bonham Carter and Fiennes are expected to attend the fest.

“This provides a fitting conclusion to both the 56th BFI London Film Festival and London’s bicentenary celebrations of the life and work of Dickens,” said Clare Stewart, who is in her first year as fest director.

Newell said, “I’ve tried to make a film that is true to the theatrical vividness, energetic characters and high color that Dickens is loved for, while mining the deep seams of emotional cruelty and madness that underlie one of his darkest-shadowed stories.”

The film, partly financed by the BFI Film Fund alongside BBC Films, Lipsync Prods., Unison Films and Hart/Lunsford Pictures, will world preem at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 11.

It was produced by Number 9 Films’ Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen and Unison’s Emanuel Michael and David Faigenbaum, with David Nicholls (“One Day”) adapting the book for the screen.

Last week the LFF announced 3D stop-motion animation “Frankenweenie,” directed by Bonham Carter’s partner Tim Burton, will open the fest on Oct. 10, while the Archive Gala will see the world premiere of the BFI’s new restoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s silent film, “The Manxman.”

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