Ralph Fiennes’s film about the secret love affair between Charles Dickens and a woman more than half his age is finally shooting.
It was announced to great fanfare at the Cannes Film Festival a few years ago when Christine Langan, head of BBC Films, joined forces with producer Stewart Mackinnon to get Abi Morgan to adapt Claire Tomalin’s brilliant 1991 book The Invisible Woman.
That book told of Dickens’s relationship with actress Nelly Ternan which started when she was 18 and he was 45.
It was an extraordinary affair. Dickens was perhaps the best-known man in the country, and he was married to Catherine — who had borne him ten children — when his eye fell on the blonde-haired Nelly.
The young actress performed in a distinguished but impoverished troupe of actors led by her mother, Frances Ternan (being played by Fiennes’s good friend Kristin Scott Thomas).
Nelly was indeed the invisible woman, and Felicity Jones — one of our best young actresses — was chosen by Fiennes, who is directing and starring as the famous author.
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