Books have been adapted into films for decades. Some books have even been adapted more than once! But what about the author behind the prose? In the last few years, there has been a rise in movies telling the stories of those who created the tales we all know and love. The intrigue of what inspired them to put pen to paper is often more interesting, and certainly more revealing, than the books themselves.
To celebrate the release of The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Miriam Margolyes and Simon Callow tomorrow (Friday, December 1), we take a look at some of the best biographical films about our favourite authors.
5. P.L. Travers – Saving Mr Banks
After being pursued for 20 years by Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) for the rights to turn Mary Poppins into a film, P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) reluctantly agrees to hear his plans after her book sales stop. Travelling all the way to Los Angeles, the author refuses to let her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine, despite Disney pulling out all the stops to convince her. It’s only when the pair find common ground over their difficult childhoods that they agree to bring Mary Poppins to life on film together.
4. Beatrix Potter – Miss Potter
Exasperating her parents with a determination to earn her own money, rather than marry into it, Miss Potter is the story of how the headstrong author and illustrator became a sensation. Beatrix Potter (Renee Zellweger) had been drawing animals and telling stories of their adventures since childhood, but a chance encounter with young publisher Norman (Ewan McGregor) gives her the chance to share them with children everywhere.
3. Charles Dickens – The Man Who Invented Christmas
Suffering a string of flops, Charles Dickens (played here by Dan Stevens) was desperate for another bestseller. Deciding to write a story about Christmas in six weeks to ensure it hit the shelves on time for the festive season, the legendary author drew on his experiences to conjure up the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come, as well as the infamous Ebenezer Scrooge (played here by Christopher Plummer), to forever immortalise the holiday season into the celebration we know today.
2. Jane Austen – Becoming Jane
At 20-years-old, Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) already saw a world beyond class and dreamt of marrying for love, rather than money or social standing – despite her parents’ best efforts. When she meets the roguish lawyer Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy) she initially thinks him arrogant, but sparks fly once they realise that they are two of the same, fighting against society’s norms. Their passion for their beliefs and each other soon threatens both of their families’ wellbeing and they must make a choice between happiness and security.
1. Iris Murdoch – Iris
As a young academic, Iris Murdoch (Kate Winslet) met and fell in love with fellow professor John Bayley (Hugh Bonneville) whose awkward nature seemed at odds with his future wife’s vibrant nature and charismatic personality. Over 40 years and several renowned books, poems and plays later, Iris (Judi Dench) is now ravaged by the effects of Alzheimer’s, but her devoted husband (Jim Broadbent) stays by her side and tells her story.
The Man Who Invented Christmas comes to cinemas across the UK on December 1.
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