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All posts in a christmas carol


Fresh off the back of a star turn in Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet, we catch up with British superstar Joe Alwyn about getting into an evil mindset, playing the long-game in his career, and his upcoming role in Steven Knight’s A Christmas Carol.

words by Francesco Loy Bell

It’s an unnerving experience, having to ask an actor to fill you in on the ending of the film you’re supposed to be interviewing them about, but it’s a testament to Joe Alwyn’s charm and down-to-earth manner that he duly obliges, happily relaying the final ten minutes of Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet with an infectious enthusiasm only someone with genuine passion for a project could muster. I had been most of the way through Lemmons’ bold new offering, centred around American historical icon and slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, when the fire alarm sounded, resulting in a hoard of shell-shocked journalists being quickly ushered out of the building, only to be told that we would not be able to watch the last 25 minutes of the film. Fast-forward 24 hours, and I can’t help but pause to reflect on the surreality of sitting across from the films horrifying antagonist as he casually explains his fate to me over coffee. More on that later, however.

Despite being the only actor in his immediate family, it’s fair to say Alwyn inherited some of the requisite DNA to pursue a career in film, his father, a documentary-maker and his mother, a therapist. Alwyn sees both as formative, instilling him with the “curiosity for looking into people’s lives, observing, and listening to stories” that had possessed him from an early age. “I always liked going to the cinema,” he explains, “sitting in big dark rooms, watching stories. It was kind of a way to disappear.” Though he cannot pinpoint the exact ‘light bulb’ moment in which he decided to become a professional actor, he does attribute seeing Ben Whishaw as Hamlet at the Old Vic when he was 12 or 13 as foundational, and “one of those moments that stick with you, where I thought: ‘I would really like to do that’.” That feeling soon blossomed, Alwyn taking numerous shows to the Edinburgh Fringe while at school and university, shows he can now jokingly admit “should not have been seen by anyone!”

Drama school naturally beckoned, the then-graduate enrolling himself into The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, an experience he looks back on fondly, his eyes lighting up as he recalls some of the more eccentric aspects of his time there. “A lot of rolling around on the floor, a lot of tight black clothing. And lots of trees, I was a brilliant tree,” he laughs, before informing me, in sudden deadpan: “you’re also looking at a llama.”

Alwyn probably wouldn’t have expected such a swift re-entry into the dynamic absurdity of drama school so soon after leaving, but then he probably wouldn’t have expected to be working with director Yorgos Lanthimos only a couple of years later either. Having shot his first job — Ang Lee’s reverse-engineered war film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk — just after he graduated in 2015, Alwyn was sent the script of a then still in development The Favourite soon afterwards. “It felt like a special script. I mean, at that point, I hadn’t read that many scripts. I still was” — he catches himself, as his eyes widen in momentary wonder — “well, I still am new to this. But yeah, it was just… such a good script. I knew of Yorgos; I knew of his films. And those two things kind of narrowed together: this twisted take on a genre that can be quite conventional and stuffy, and his very unique, singular mind. It was exciting.”

A skype session with Lanthimos soon followed (“we talked about everything probably apart from The Favourite” Alwyn laughs), and the rest is history, the actor landing the role of Samuel Masham, a young baron in the court of Olivia Colman’s Queen Ann. Though his turn in the film is punctuated by exaggerated physicality — the court dancing scene with Rachel Weisz a particularly memorable example — Alwyn tells me that it was only when he got on set that Lanthimos’ true, bonkers vision began to come to life.

“I didn’t know that it was going to become one of those moments,” he says of the dance scene and others like it. “Because in the script it just said ‘they dance’, or, ‘he chases her’.” He can’t help but smile when speaking about Lanthimos: “He is hilarious. And confusing. He doesn’t really say anything to you about conventional direction; there was no discussion of period, or etiquette, or character, or history — which I think we’d expected to a degree, just because of the nature of the film. We had two weeks of ridiculous exercises and rehearsals, where I’d be playing Olivia’s part, and Olivia would be playing Nick [Hoult]’s part, and you’d sing the lines, and you’re chasing each other, and… you don’t know what you’re doing, or why you’re doing it. And Yorgos doesn’t say anything. And then he’d get on set, and just kind of say ‘Mmm… louder, faster, quieter’.”

The profound respect Alwyn holds for Lanthimos is tangible — he responds “Yorgos again” in a flash when I ask him who he’d love to work with — and he largely credits the director’s vision for the success the film has since garnered. “He made it weird and wacky and bawdy and irreverent, and it’s just not what you’re used to seeing,” he gushes. One particular on-set tale gives some insight into the energetic nature of Lanthimos’ sets, Alwyn recollecting a close-shave experience during a flirtatious forest scene with Emma Stone which resulted in the actress being taken to hospital. “The woods scene; the rugby tackling scene. We — or I — got maybe a little too carried away in the rugby aspect of it, and Emma took a fall… which was completely my fault. She knocked herself on the root of a tree and hurt her head; the paramedics came, she had to go to hospital, and we had to stop filming for the day.” The sheer panic still momentary lingers on Alwyn’s face as he recounts the story: “She’d just won an Oscar […] I was cowering in the corner thinking I’d just killed Emma Stone.”

Alwyn’s latest project, Harriet, is a stark departure from The Favourite, the actor trading in Masham’s comic fluidity for the chilling rigidity of Gideon Brodess, the vengeful and sickeningly violent son of Harriet’s owner. As aforementioned, it is difficult to reconcile the man sitting opposite me sipping his coffee with the evil he portrays on screen, and I’m curious as to Alwyn’s process for getting into such a poisonous mindset. “It’s tricky, because what he stands for is abhorrent, and obviously unrelatable,” he explains. “What him and his family did, and the idea of slavery, is repulsive. But I suppose with those kinds of characters you try to find some kind of humanity within them — which suits the time they were living in — to hold onto. And in Gideon’s case, it’s probably some kind of deep, repressed, buried feelings of love. Maybe love for Harriet? I don’t think he necessarily has a language for it, or even understands what it is. But he’s deeply tangled and confused inside. And you try and connect with those sides of him. But, in terms of who they are and what they stand for… it’s hard to find a way in. It’s near impossible.”

Alwyn gives a brutal performance in the film, deftly showcasing Gideon’s skin-crawling internal struggle between racist disgust, and Lima Syndrome-style  lust of Harriet, and his antagonistic villainy is the perfect foil to fellow Brit Cynthia Erivo’s stunning performance as the eponymous emancipator, Alwyn extolling her “formidable” work ethic and on-screen generosity as hugely motivational in his preparation. The story of Harriet Tubman, though well known, is perhaps not as staple a piece of knowledge in the American psyche as her actions demand, and Alwyn hopes that the film will help to give her the wider historical credit she deserves, both in the States and beyond. “Growing up in the UK,” he explains, “I didn’t know who she was, really. I’d seen her name; I’d seen the older iconic images of her. But I didn’t know her story. You hope that films like this will make it more accessible, and bring people in to learn about her and the story of what she did, what she achieved.”

As the politics of division take hold around the world, there has been an intensified focus on the debate surrounding story-telling, and the potential impact or consequence a story can have in the current climate; Todd Phillips’ Joker, for example, has faced significant criticism for potentially giving encouragement to white terrorism and racism. In this vein, the telling of stories like Tubman’s seems more necessary than ever, and this is not lost on Alwyn. “If you go on Twitter and read down on the news, there’s endless stories of division and racism, bigotry, families being torn apart at the borders. Without putting too much on it, if there was someone who represents a fight in the face of that, Harriet Tubman seems to shine pretty strong. And you’d hope that someone like her would become a part of a global curriculum at school.” Alwyn is hopeful that giving figures like Tubman their due historical credit — at least in terms of film — will universalise her all-too-recent struggle, and help unite people in the face of societal partition.

Alwyn’s next project will see him return to London, albeit a dark, Dickensian version of the city, as he takes on the role of Bob Cratchit — Ebenezer Scrooge’s much-abused clerk — in Steven Knight’s upcoming rendition of A Christmas Carol. Though he cannot give too much away, he promises the miniseries will be much darker and truer to Dickens’ sordid portrayal of London than previous versions. “It’s very much more in that kind of gritty, darker, slightly twisted world,” he explains. “It’s not as sanitised, perhaps, as most other versions are […] it really goes into Scrooge’s own pain and why he is the way he is in quite an unpleasant way. And definitely in a way that hasn’t been seen before.”

Alwyn speaks with a soft, magnetic enthusiasm that almost makes me forget that this is indeed an interview, and I am disappointed to look down at my dictaphone and discover that our allotted time slot is drawing to a close. Characteristically, however, he laughs off any time constraint, and I am afforded some final questions. At 28 years old, the actor is arguably slightly older than some of the other industry ‘up-and-comers’ one might bracket him alongside, and I ask whether he thinks the hyper-visibility of fame elicited by social media is in part to blame for an increasing tendency to link the validity of success with being in your early 20s. Alwyn, despite having an instagram page and being in a relationship with one of the biggest musicians in the world, is notably more private than many others in his position, and he quotes a piece of advice given to him by Ang Lee on set of Billy Lynn in his response.

“It’s not a sprint,” he decides, after some deliberation. “Everyone has different ways of going. I’m still at an early stage in my career. I left Central in 2015, the first film I was in came out at the end of 2016. It doesn’t feel too long ago. I don’t think there is any right way to do it, but […] I do think it’s an interesting point about social media and the idea of instant visibility, an instant attainment… it’s a dangerous thing to play into. And something that would be dangerous to get hooked on because I don’t think it’s real. You know, social media is [a facade]. And if you buy into that being a reality — or that’s what you go after — it’s not healthy.”

I am struck by how refreshing Alwyn’s attitude to fame is, though by the end of our conversation, I am hardly surprised. This is someone for whom the work is clearly a far superior motivational factor than fame or recognition, and this passion for his craft is evident in every project he touches. Ang Lee was right, it is a marathon rather than a sprint, but Joe Alwyn certainly seems ahead of the curve as he enters what promises to be a vastly exciting new chapter in his career. I, for one, can’t wait to see what he does next.

Joe Alwyn on Playing Bob Cratchit in FX’s “Dark” and “Uncomfortable” Version of ‘A Christmas Carol’

From screenwriterSteven Knight(Peaky BlindersTaboo) and director Nick Murphy, the iconic ghost story A Christmas Carol (premiering on FX on December 19th) delves deep into a dark night of the soul for Ebeneezer Scrooge (Guy Pearce), a successful businessman who prefers to search for the worst in people than to see their goodness or struggles. As he is faced with his past, present and future, and the consequences of all three, it will be up to Scrooge to determine whether he is even worth redemption.

During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, British actor Joe Alwyn(who plays Bob Cratchit, overworked and underappreciated employee of Ebeneezer Scrooge and family man to two young children, including Tiny Tim) talked about the relatablility and universality of A Christmas Carol, what excited him about this telling of the story, the dark and uncomfortable subject matter, what he identified with in Bob Cratchit, exploring the family dynamic, the Cratchit-Scrooge relationship, working with co-star Guy Pearce, the experience of walking onto a set like this, and his own holiday family traditions. He also talked about his upcoming film Last Letter from Your Lover, about a young woman who becomes obsessed with a series of letters she discovers that recount a love affair, and the TV series that he’d love to do a guest spot on.

Collider: I’ve loved a variety of different retellings of A Christmas Carol, and this one is so interesting because it’s set in the time period, and yet still somehow feels very modern and relatable.

JOE ALWYN: Good. It definitely tries to stir things up, a little bit. Nick Murphy, the director, was clear that he didn’t want us to slip into the old, very Dickensian way of things that often can happen when you see interpretations of Dickens. There’s nothing bad about that, but he wanted a more irreverent, modern feel, even though it’s still within the structured framework of the story. That really comes down a lot to Steve Knight. His writing is so brilliant. He just took the original novel and drilled deeper, and looked between the lines and beneath the surface. Consequence brings about things that are, oftentimes, a lot more uncomfortable to see. It’s certainly a little more twisted and darker, but it’s good fun.

Everybody is so familiar with this story, and even just the title of the story, so when A Christmas Carol came your way, was it something that you were immediately intrigued by and curious to read, or did you need a little bit of convincing to sign on for something that so many people have done?

ALWYN: I didn’t, no. I had to hold my hands up and say, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a proper full version of A Christmas Carol before. I know there are so many of them, but somehow I had a deprived childhood and was never shown one.” I read the book again, which I must’ve read when I was younger. I read it again, just doing my homework. I’ve since been told about The Muppets and that Kermit is my main competition. I’m going head to head with a frog who played Bob. But I didn’t know a huge amount about other interpretations. The descriptions were so complete, unto themselves, and there was so much in them to mine and go off of, that was attractive, in itself. I knew the people surrounding it. I’d worked with Guy [Pearce] before and really got on with him, and I think he’s just fantastic. So, with the combination of him, Andy Serkis, and everyone, really, it was an exciting opportunity.

It definitely says something about the work and the themes that are in the work, when it can be interpreted as a drama or a comedy, and it can even be told by The Muppets. That’s certainly a wide range of things that most stories can’t do.

ALWYN: Yeah, definitely. It’s that idea that we always seem to come back to stories of redemption. The themes in it are universally significant to who we are as humans, about remembering who we are, and why we behave the way we behave, and about family, love, redemption and hope. It’s wrapped up in this amazing, powerful Christmas fable, and Christmas keeps coming around every year, so we keep coming back to it. It’s just a story that we keep going back to, and the fact that it’s been done in so many different ways really speaks to the strength of its core.

This is definitely a darker and more twisted telling of the story, with some difficult subject matter and some adult language. I was actually a little surprised by the swearing that was in it. Do you think that this is still something families can watch, or do you feel like this version is geared a little more toward an audience that’s a bit older?

ALWYN: Yeah, it’s undeniably darker and the themes explored are more uncomfortable, compared to what we’re used to seeing. I think it’s suitable for families, but I don’t think it’s suitable for a seven year old. I don’t know what that line is. For some reason, since the novel was written and the story seems to have been told, from what I understand and from what clips I’ve seen, it’s progressively gotten cheerier and cheerier, and almost glossy, with the Ghost of Christmas Past as a Santa Claus-like figure, and we all know who Scrooge is, but he’s an old, removed miser. Here, they’re the characters that we recognize, but they’re darker and more relatable, and hopefully the characters translate as 3D humans, as well. The things that are explored probably were there, at the time, and were an implicit path to the story, but it’s beneath the surface. [Steven Knight] has just read beneath the lines and has gone deeper into looking at why Scrooge is the way he is. He looks into his pain and has asked, “What could have made this man become this man?” And the answers that he’s come up with are certainly uncomfortable.

What was it about this version of Bob Cratchit that you found yourself most identifying with and that you also most enjoyed getting to explore?

ALWYN: I like that Bob, in this version, has got a little bit more pluck and spine, and he fights back and bites back with Scrooge, as much as he can, within the workspace. There are these great scenes between the two of them, where he doesn’t just lie down and stand down. He pushes back on Scrooge, as much as he can. Whether that’s through wit or sarcasm or dishonesty, he pushes back. He doesn’t just let himself be trampled all over. At the same time, there’s obviously a line. He knows what the stakes are and the stakes are huge, and he can’t afford to cross it because he has to provide for his family. But I liked that he had a bit more backbone to him, and he isn’t just completely submissive. And I also like that we spend more time with his family and we get to know his wife, Mary (Vinette Robinson), and his children. Mary has her own story with Scrooge, and it’s a secret that emerges within the family and these cracks begin to form. I don’t think that’s ever been explored before, in a telling of A Christmas Carol, and I thought that was pretty interesting. 

I love that you really do get to experience that family dynamic and see what they’re like together, because it helps you to understand why they might be willing to endure certain things, in order to keep that together.

ALWYN: Yeah. Obviously, Bob is in the dark. He doesn’t know what’s happening. Often, if you see a family portrait, and it’s all completely happy and cheery and smiley, for all of the love that’s in this family, they’re also struggling and this secret is pulling them apart. Their conversations are quite fractured and full of tension, but that’s truer, in a way. Not everything is cheery and sanitized and 2D. Hopefully, it’s a little more rounded.

What was it like to have those young actors to work with?

ALWYN: They were amazing. A girl called Tiarna [Williams] played Belinda, and a boy called Lenny Rush played Tim, and they were both fantastic. Lenny, in particular, is just brilliant. It was so great to have both of them on set because the whole thing would just become more magical. The excitement and enthusiasm is infectious, whenever you have a child on set. It lifts everyone else. There’s a production of A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic in London that’s been going for a few years now, written by Jack Thorne, and Lenny plays Tim in that. I think he’s the only cast member who’s returned, consistently, for that production. He’s a master of that role. He’s such a lovely boy.

The dynamic between Cratchit and Scrooge is so important. How did Guy Pearce affect your approach and performance, throughout this?

ALWYN: Firstly, I was lucky enough to have worked with him before, on a film called Mary Queen of Scots, and got on with him really well, and so, I was so happy to have the opportunity to work with him again ‘cause he’s not only phenomenally talented, but he’s also a really, really good person and I got on with him. So, that was great. More than maybe any actor I’ve worked with, he’s been the most interesting to watch the way he works, and the way that he approaches a scene and asks questions, and the way that he conducts himself on set, within a scene, is amazing to watch. I like that his Scrooge is younger and has a swagger to him. Where often Scrooge can be a character that’s retreated from the world, there’s a cockiness to his and an upfront-ness that makes you engage with him. He’s not just twiddling his thumbs, sitting in a corner and grumbling. He meets you and he’s present, whereas I feel like with other older Scrooges, there’s something more passive about them. He’s younger, he’s active and he’s engaged, and that was great.

What was the experience like, being on the set, in these costumes, and surrounded by all of these actors? What are the most memorable aspects of walking onto a set like this and seeing all of that come to life?

ALWYN: Well, it was summertime, so it was very hot and very sweaty. We did it in May and June, and it was a really hot summer in London. The costumes all look amazing, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be washing them, at the end of the day. It was pretty unpleasant. But it was amazing, the way they’d close down roads in London and cover everything with fake snow. It just makes your job easier, when you’re placed into a setting in a world like that, that’s so amazingly built around you, with costume and production design. You just need to turn up and know your lines.

When you do something that is such an epic production like this, and you have such great writing to work with, and a great director and cast, does it affect what you want to do next? Every time you do a project of this caliber, does it then make you think about what the next step is?

ALWYN: It makes me want to continue to try to work with great people. I feel lucky, in my career so far, to have worked with some really, really great people and great directors. That’s all I just want to keep trying to do, and this was another version of that. It was the first time I’d done television. I hadn’t done TV before. And it didn’t really feel any different than film. We had a fair amount of time to do the three episodes. Also, it’s a real mini-series, with three episodes. We were not doing 10 episodes, or a multi-season. It’s just the attraction of trying to tell interesting stories, in new ways, with great people. I grew up watching films like Memento and, later on, The Proposition, which I absolutely loved, so getting to work with [Guy Pearce] and [Andy Serkis] and Stephen Graham, as well as Steven Knight, I just want to find people like that to work with.

Do you know what you’re going to do next, or are you in that stage of trying to figure out what you’re going to do next?

ALWYN: I just wrapped something two days ago (this interview was conducted on December 17th) in London, which was a film called Last Letter from Your Lover, and that was directed by a woman called Augustine Frizzell, who directed the new HBO show Euphoria. That stars Felicity Jones and Shailene Woodley. And then, I think there’s something I’m going to do, near the start of next year, but it’s still being figured out and is not set in stone. So, I’m just reading lots and trying to figure things out, for next year.

What’s the character you played in Last Letter from Your Lover?

ALWYN: It’s a story in two parts. It’s a modern day story and a ‘60s story, and it jumps between the two. My storyline is in the ‘60s with Shailene and Callum Turner, who’s a British actor. I play Shailene’s husband. We’re a couple, and this other figure comes into our life and disrupts the balance.

Is there a current TV series that you watch, that you’d love to do a guest spot or guest arc on?

ALWYN: I haven’t finished it, but I love watching Succession. That’s been pretty amazing. The writing on that and the performances in that are incredible.

Is there anything that you would love to do that you feel would really stretch you, as far as a genre or a character, that you just haven’t gotten the opportunity to do yet?

ALWYN: In one sense, no. It’s not as specific as that. I just want to find really good people to work with, and that could be on anything. But I would love to do a World War film. I don’t know what or how, but I think that would be really fun.

For Bob Cratchit, the holidays seem to really be about family. Do you have holiday traditions that are important to you? Is it about a sense of family, or are you a crazy decorator?

ALWYN: There’s a bit of decoration going on, with wreaths and stuff. But, yes it’s about seeing family and keeping up with weird family traditions. There are these ponds in London, near my family’s house, and for some reason, on Christmas morning, we go and jump in the ponds, and it’s absolutely freezing. It’s ridiculous, and you’ve gotta get out quickly, or you aren’t getting out. But for some reason, that starts the day on Christmas.

A Christmas Carol premieres on FX on December 19th.

source

Joe and Guy Pearce did a bunch of press for A Christmas Carol yesterday, December 17, in New York City. The costars did interviews for Good Morning America, Strahan, Sara and Keke, Buzzfeed’s AM to DM, ET Canada, and BUILD Series. Joe also did an interview with Collider which you can read here. You can watch all the interviews below and see photos of Joe throughout the day in our gallery.

Good Morning America
 

Buzzfeed’s AM to DM
 

Buzzfeed News

BUILD Series
 

Leaving BUILD Series

Joe Alwyn attended the TCA Summer Press Tour on August 6, 2019 in Los Angeles to discuss the upcoming BBC and FX miniseries A Christmas Carol where Joe will play the role of Bob Cratchit. Joe was joined by his costars Andy Serkis, Guy Pearce and producer Steven Knight. They discussed how this will be a contemporary adaptation within a period setting, focusing on the humanity of the characters in a way that will feel relevant to audiences today. Additionally, Joe discussed how he hasn’t seen many of the previous adaptations of A Christmas Carol so he was able to come into this project with fresh eyes and that this version will be darker and more haunting than previous. After the panel, Joe spoke with E Online about his character and the series, where he sees himself in 10 years, and celebrating Christmas. You can read the article below. You can also see photos of Joe at the event in our gallery:

FX NETWORK TCA SUMMER PRESS TOUR

Joe Alwyn is living his dream.

While promoting A Christmas Carol, his new FX miniseries about the Charles Dickensclassic, Alwyn was asked where he sees himself in 10 years. The answer?

“I’ve been very lucky, so far, to work with some very talented, great people who I’ve looked up to for a long, long time, that’s both directors and cast and crew, so if I could just keep doing that, that’d be a dream,” he told a small group of press after the 2019 Television Critics Association summer press tour panel.

On the panel, Alwyn said one of the best parts of acting was the catharsis it can provide.

“I find something cathartic about it in the sense that, depending on the role…you get to show all kinds of emotions, scream, shout and cry in a way that you don’t in real life,” he said. “I love seeing the magic of it all happen around you when you step on set. I’m still relatively new, in a relatively early stage in my career, so to step onto these sets with people who I’ve long admired and grown up watching, including Guy and [Andy Serkis], to see it all be created around you…and be a part of amazing stories like this…it’s kind of a dream come true.”

In A Christmas Carol, Alwyn plays Bob Cratchit, father of Tiny Tim, employee of Scrooge (Guy Pearce). In this version, the Bob Cratchit character has a new edge.

“He definitely shows some pluck, especially standing up to Scrooge that we haven’t seen before. His way of fighting back is within the office and sarcasm and snide comments and a slight bitterness and resentment,” Alwyn said. “Like with any human, there’s darkness in him, but he obviously serves a purpose at his essence of being a loyal family man who sacrifices himself and his own sense of well-being to kind of toil for his family and provide for them.”

FX’s A Christmas Carol hails from Steven Knight and despite the time period, is more contemporary.

“It’s not a kind of stuffy, Dickensian world in the way that maybe we’ve seen some times before,” Alwyn said. “It’s more colloquial and modern and people swear and there are themes in there that haven’t been explored before. They’re a lot darker, it feels a lot more human in that way I think.”

As a proper British boy, Alwyn said he has a fondness for Christmas. “Yeah, I love Christmas. It’s great. I’m a big fan of it. I’m not very good at Christmas shopping and getting that done early, that normally comes down to the last week, but it’s great. I see family I haven’t seen in a while, eat far too much food,” he said.

A Christmas Carol premieres in December 2019 on FX.

SOURCE

Joe has a new role! He will play Bob Cratchit in an upcoming BBC miniseries adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. It will air this December, and filming is currently underway in England.

BBC One and FX are partnering on a new adaptation of the timeless classic, A Christmas Carol.

The three-part special is a unique and original take on the Charles Dickens’ iconic ghost story by Steven Knight (Taboo, Peaky Blinders) and a haunting, hallucinatory, spine-tingling immersion into Scrooge’s dark night of the soul. It will be produced by FX Productions, Scott Free, Hardy Son & Baker for BBC One.

The star-studded ensemble cast joining A Christmas Carol includes Guy Pearce (Mary Queen of Scots) playing Ebenezer Scrooge; Andy Serkis (Black Panther) as Ghost of Christmas Past; Stephen Graham (This is England) as Jacob Marley; Charlotte Riley (Peaky Blinders) as Lottie; Joe Alwyn (The Favourite) as Bob Cratchit; Vinette Robinson (Doctor Who) as Mary Cratchit; Rutger Hauer (True Blood) as the Ghost of Christmas Future; Kayvan Novak (What We Do In The Shadows) as Ali Baba and Lenny Rush (Old Boys) as Tim Cratchit.

A Christmas Carol is written and executive produced by Steven Knight, executive produced by Tom Hardy, Ridley Scott, Dean Baker, David W. Zucker, Kate Crowe and Mona Qureshi for the BBC. It is directed by Nick Murphy and produced by Julian Stevens. The 3×60’ adaptation airing this Christmas on the BBC in the UK and FX in the US is the latest collaboration between the two broadcasters and the creative team behind acclaimed drama series, Taboo.

Steven Knight says: “This production of A Christmas Carol will respectfully present what we believe to be a timely interpretation of a timeless story.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “We’re incredibly excited that filming has begun on Steve Knight’s brilliant interpretation of A Christmas Carol, with Nick Murphy directing a phenomenal cast in what promises to be an iconic version of the classic tale.”

Nick Grad and Eric Schrier, Presidents of Original Programming, FX Networks and FX Productions, say: “We are incredibly proud to join the BBC in this latest creative venture, which builds on our expansive programming partnership to bring the best in television to audiences in the US and UK. Charles Dickens’ classics, including A Christmas Carol, are timeless tales that have been re-imagined generation after generation. We couldn’t imagine a better team to undertake this enormous task than Steven Knight, Tom Hardy, Ridley Scott, and their formidable production companies. What an incredible way to close out 2019 with the television event for A Christmas Carol.”

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