Dickens’s Unknown Character: Himself

Dickens’s Unknown Character: Himself


Ralph Fiennes on ‘The Invisible Woman,’ a Dickensian Tale


Johan Persson; David Appleby/Sony Pictures Classics

From left, Toby Irvine and Ralph Fiennes in “Great Expectations,” directed by Mike Newell; and Mr. Fiennes as Charles Dickens and Felicity Jones as Nelly Ternan in “The Invisible Woman,” directed by Mr. Fiennes.



“He still preoccupies me, Dickens, as a person,” Ralph Fiennes said recently, between bites of grilled salmon in the back room of a quiet restaurant on a bright, breezy October day in New York. His film “The Invisible Woman,” which he directed and in which he stars as Charles Dickens, had just been screened for the news media at the Walter Reade Theater a few blocks away, and he’d spent half an hour afterward fielding questions about the strange, painful love story the movie tells. So you would think he might, at this point, be rather Dickensed out. He was not. “The psychology of him fascinates me, still,” he said, softly, sounding a little surprised himself. “Who was he, really?”


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