Recently pondering all the Dickens adaptations I've seen in my lifetime, I thought I'd post about some of the bigger-name celebs who have tried their hand at portraying one of Boz's beloved characters. Here are a few who immediately come to mind, for better or for worse.
Michael Richards (Mr. Micawber: David Copperfield)
If anyone was born to play a Dickens character, it's the guy who brought us Cosmo Kramer. (This was back before his caught-on-tape racist rant which sort of spelled his stardom's demise.) Sally Field was also in this 2000 adaptation for the TNT network playing Aunt Betsy Trotwood. Hugh Dancy was David.
GOOP (Estella, Great Expectations)
I know Estella is supposed to be kind of hateable, and in that case, Gwyneth succeeeded ten-fold. I can never block this terrible move poster from my memory, but fortunately, I have mostly banished from my mind her cold-fish performance in this film. I think this marks the moment Gywnnie first started to bug (as I actually tolerated her in Emma — I know many others didn't.) Robert DeNiro and Anne Bancroft played Magwitch and Havisham types, but even with hottie Ethan Hawke as Pip, this one was pretty bad. For a far superior telling, you must see the version with Ioan Gruffudd and Justine Waddell. Watch the clip:
Christopher Plummer (Ralph Nickleby: Nicholas Nickleby,)
So perfect as mean Uncle Ralph, although I will always love him as my Georg. Anne Hathaway was in this one (I'd completely forgotten!) as Madeline Bray.
Gillian Anderson (Lady Dedlock: Bleak House)
I'm still not convinced she can offer up more than two facial expressions, but for this portrayal, it really worked. This might be my favorite Dickens adaptation to date, and Scully nailed it. No offense to Laura Linney, but I still kind of wish Gillian was doing the intros to Masterpiece Theater (if we can't have Russell Baker, that is.)
Alec Guinness (William Dorrit: Little Dorrit; Fagan: Oliver Twist; Magwitch: Great Expectations)
I've not seen any of these, but Obi-Wan got nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Little Dorrit (1988). Take a good look at the clip below and tell me we aren't lucky to get Matthew Macfadyen as Arthur Clennam? (Spoiler alert in case you haven't figured out what happens this Sunday on LD.)