Entertainment website CraveOnline caught up with Goblet of Fire and Great Expectations director Mike Newell while he attended the AFI Fest to promote his adapatation of the Charles Dickens novel.
While discussing the film, the topic of Prisoner of Azkaban director Alfonso Cuaron also creating a version of Great Expectations back in 1998 rose to the surface. When asked if he was annoyed that Cuaron changed the character names, Newell replied,
"Nooo! Not at all. No, I don't care in the least. Alfonso and I know one another because of Harry Potter of course. He has always been very kind to me. When he asked me, the last time I saw him, what I was doing and I told him I was doing a version of Great Expectations, he made the sign of the cross with his fingers, and I assumed that that was because it wasn't the happiest of experiences for him. I thought it was a terrific film actually. I've watched every version of this film and the TV [versions] that have ever been made. I watched, I don't know, 10, 11 versions, and I stole a little bit from every one of them, and I certainly stole from Alfonso, who is worth stealing from."
It also seems that having a great love of the novel had an influence on him directing this latest film version:
"It has been a big story for me all my life because I first came across it when I was 14 or 15, something like that. I then went on, and when I was at university, I had a very great thing for Dickens to the point where I was thought slightly crazy because we all knew that Dickens was a kind of comic novelist of the second rank. I didn't think that at all. I thought that he was a tremendous novelist of the very first rank. I think that Dickens has got a more recognizable voice to the British these days than even Shakespeare."
Of course his work on Harry Potter was brought up, and he was asked if he ever wanted to work on another one before David Yates came into the picture. He answered,
"Wonderfully direct question. Yes. Okay? There's a wonderfully direct answer, yes."
Be sure to check out the rest of this interview. Great Expectations contains a number of familiar Harry Potter cast members, including Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane, and Jessie Cave.