Video: Ralph Fiennes on exposing Charles Dickens’ secret love life in ‘The Invisible Woman’

Charles Dickens‘ private life was an open book, literally – “David Copperfield,” for example, was virtually an autobiography – but he had a secret love life that Ralph Fiennes exposes sensitively while portraying the author and directing “The Invisible Woman.” Now Nelly Ternan becomes fully visible on screen: an 18-year-old actress (portrayed by Felicity Jones) who is overwhelmed by a literary tornado desperate for love.

“He was 45, at the height of his career. He had nine children. and I believe he was very frustrated in his marriage,” Fiennes says in our video chat. “His intimate life was a bit of a desert.”

Curiously, Nelly appeared to be a character type ripped from several Dickens tomes.

“Here comes this woman who is the prototype of a woman he’s already written in ‘Little Dorrit’ or Agnes in ‘David Copperfield’  – blonde, petite, beautiful,” Fiennes adds. “I think he projects onto her this idea of innocence.”

Watch the full video of our chat below.


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