movies: Helena Carter Bonham talks Miss Havisham ................
HELENA Bonham Carter admits she had doubts about playing Miss Havisham in the new film adaptation of Great Expectations.
The Oscar-nominated actress stars in Four Weddings And A Funeral director Mike Newell’s big-screen adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel about young orphan Pip, whose life is changed by a massive inheritance from a mystery benefactor.
Bonham Carter admits she felt ‘‘really excited’’ about playing the mad spinster who lives in her cobweb-covered wedding dress after being jilted on her wedding day.
‘‘At the point when I was offered it I felt a bit young and then Mike said, ‘No, no, if you look at the book she is actually your age’. And I said ‘Oh great! OK’,’’ she says.
‘‘And then I thought it’s quite an original idea. People always expect her to be a 70-year-old but then Gillian (Anderson) did it too (in the recent BBC TV adaptation) and I thought it’s not that original – she’s younger than me.
‘‘But there’s so many different ideas in the book that we actually went for completely different ideas. And I love the fact she’s steeped in fairytale, the way Dickens has written her.’’
Holliday Grainger plays Estella, who captures Pip’s heart only to break it. The Bel Ami star says she has always fought Estella’s corner and wanted to show a softer side to the character.
‘‘I used to have arguments with people in my seminars about her because she can be seen as a cold coquette,’’ Grainger says.
‘‘But it’s just that she’s so emotionally damaged that she really wants to love and be loved but she never has been and she doesn’t understand it. So then she doesn’t believe that she can.’’
The film also stars War Horse’s Jeremy Irvine as Pip and his brother Toby Irvine, who plays young Pip, Ralph Fiennes as ominous criminal Magwitch and Robbie Coltrane as the lawyer Mr Jaggers.
Coltrane says budget constraints meant the producers didn’t know where the funds for the film were coming from week by week – an experience that united the cast.
‘‘It was a joy. We were all hanging around with each other on set all day, largely because it was a great big hole on the A4 motorway,’’ he says. ‘‘But there was something very magical about it.’’
Helena Bonham Carter as the mad spinster Miss Havisham in