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.
By TERRENCE RAFFERTY
“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?”
Express.co.uk – Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | Express Yourself :: Fiennes romance for Dickens film
…The Invisible Woman, currently filming in London. It tells the story of Dickens’s decade-long affair with the actress Ellen Ternan, known as “Nelly”.
Despite having married Catherine Hogarth in 1836 who bore him 10 children (nine survived) Dickens fell madly in love with the actress Ternan when he was 45 and she just 18. A passionate affair began after she and her sister auditioned for a play he was putting on.
Yet, although he left his wife for her, Charles Dickens was mindful of his public image and went to great lengths to keep the relationship a secret. The Invisible Woman is based on Claire Tomalin’s acclaimed biography of Ternan and tells the story of the relationship through her eyes. It is expected in cinemas next year.
Despite his public image as a kindly, benevolent man, Dickens could be a tyrant in his personal life and kept his mistress a virtual prisoner. This scene, supposedly set on Derby Day, but filmed near Wembley, north London, would have represented a rare public outing for the pair…