Looks like they're going ahead with that Oliver! remake: Various news outlets are reporting that Toby Haynes, director of the BBC miniseries Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, will direct a new film version. (Deadline claims that everyone involved denies it, but that it's true anyway. Why they would deny it if it's true is beyond me, but I guess that's show business.) Lee Hall is writing the script and Broadway legend Cameron Mackintosh is among the producers.
The Daily Mail reports that the goal is to release the film at the end of 2016. It also states that "a nationwide search" will be held to find young actors to play Oliver and the Artful Dodger, but that "no one was prepared to discuss" who might be cast in the adult roles. So feel to speculate or dreamcast in the comments section here! (The paper does mention that at one point there was "chatter" about Samantha Barks, who played Éponine in the film version of Les Misérables, possibly playing Nancy, a role that she has played onstage.)
The New York Times ran a review late last week of Stephen Jarvis's novel on the creation of Pickwick. Reviewer Michael Upchurch writes:
"Jarvis echoes Dickens’s own narrative strategies by packing 'Death and Mr. Pickwick' with numerous digressions, flashbacks and tales within tales (many of them recastings of episodes found in 'The Pickwick Papers'). But Jarvis’s approach to digression is often more suffocatingly mechanical than zestily harebrained. Immediately upon being introduced, his characters, however minor, have their backgrounds explained. Most of these plodding flashbacks bring the central story to a halt."
I'm not yet to the halfway point of Death and Mr. Pickwick, so I'm not ready to write my own review. I will say only that so far, Upchurch's impressions strike me as pretty accurate.
Actor Brenock O'Connor (best known for Game of Thrones) talks a little in this interview about Dickensian, in which he'll be playing Peter Cratchit. Speaking of which, I've been updating the cast list for the show as information has been trickling in; go here for the latest information!
The new musical OLIVÉRio: A Brazilian Twist, based on Oliver Twist and set in modern-day Rio de Janeiro, will have its world premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., next January. Go here for a description!
Book dealer Dr. Jeremy Parrott has discovered a bound collection of All the Year Round with annotations that, according to leading scholars, are "almost certainly" by Dickens himself, identifying the authors of all the anonymous pieces that were published in the magazine. Among these writers are Elizabeth Gaskell, Lewis Carroll, and Wilkie Collins. Said BBC financial broadcaster Paul Lewis: "This is the Rosetta Stone of Victorian studies because it gives you the key to what hundreds of people wrote. When this list emerges it will change Victorian scholarship.”
Roger Rees, the actor who won an Olivier Award and a Tony Award in the title role of the 1980 Nicholas Nickleby adaptation (and later earned an Emmy nomination for the U.S. televised version), died Friday at age 71. Rees also played Fred, as well as acting as narrator, in the 1984 television adaptation of A Christmas Carol.