FX sets March 26 premiere date for lavish new production of ‘Great Expectations’ with Oscar/Emmy winner Olivia Colman

FX announced today (Charles Dickens’ birthday) that it has set a premiere date of March 26 for “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight’s hotly anticipated six-part adaptation of the classic Dickens novel “Great Expectations” starring Fionn Whitehead as Pip, Shalom Brune-Franklin as Estella and Oscar and Emmy winner Olivia Colman as Miss Havisham, with the first pair of episodes showing back to back at launch. The series will stream exclusively on Hulu in the United States and over BBC One in the UK.

Produced by FX Productions in association with the BBC, the production is expected to be an Emmy dynamo in the limited series category later this year, poised for likely nominations in series, lead actor (Whitehead), lead actress (Brune-Franklin) and supporting actress (Colman) as well as for its writing and direction. Knight, the prolific British-born writer-director and an original screenplay Academy Award nominee in 2004 for “Dirty Pretty Things,” serves as writer and executive producer alongside Tom Hardy, Ridley Scott, Dean Baker, David W. Zucker and Kate Crowe.

Colman won a 2019 lead actress Oscar for “The Favourite” as well as a 2021 Emmy as lead drama series actress for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in “The Crown.”

“Great Expectations” tells the coming-of-age story of Pip, an orphan who yearns for a greater lot in life until a twist of fate and the evil machinations of the mysterious and eccentric Miss Havisham shows him a dark world of possibilities. Under the great expectations placed upon him, Pip will have to work out the true cost of this new world and whether it will truly make him the man he wishes to be. Dickens’ novel – a damning critique of the class system – was originally published in its complete form in 1861 after having first been released in a series of weekly chapters beginning in December 1860.

Besides Whitehead, Colman and Brune-Franklin, the new series features Ashley Thomas, Johnny Harris, Hayley Squires, Owen McDonnell, Trystan Gravelle, Laurie Ogden, Rudi Dharmalingam, Tom Sweet, Chloe Lea and Matt Berry.

There have been multiple productions of “Great Expectations” made over the years on screens big and small, dating to the first adaptation as a silent feature in 1917. The most celebrated was the 1946 theatrical starring John Mills, Jean Simmons, Alec Guinness and Anthony Wager and directed by two-time Academy Award winner David Lean (“Lawrence of Arabia,” “Dr. Zhivago,” “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” “A Passage to India”). It earned five 1948 Oscar nominations, including for picture, director and writing, and won for its cinematography and art direction/set decoration.

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