A book by a Florida International University professor detailing how Charles Dickens’ famed “A Christmas Carol” almost never got made has completed its nearly decade-long process to be made into a movie.
The 2008 non-fiction book, written by Les Standiford, is set to debut on the big screen on Nov. 22.
But the idea for “The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits,” came to the director of FIU’s creative writing program in December 2006.
After learning the classic novel almost did not get published, Standiford researched Dickens’ life during that time period.
“I was looking for a book, but there wasn’t any book written about it. There were several books that mention about [Dickens’] struggle, but none dedicated for the story of the Christmas carol,” Standiford said.
This motivated him to write about this “larger than life individual,” he said.
Despite being one of the most famous British writers of the time, Dickens could not get anyone to publish his book. Due to poor financial decisions, the author was nearly broke but used what money he had left to publish it himself.
After the publication of the book in 2008 a Canadian producer, Robert Mickelson, wanted to option the book into a film.
Mickelson himself found out about the book through his wife and film producer, Paula Mazur. In an example of the small world that is Miami, the book was suggested by Mazur’s film partner Mitchell Kaplan, the owner of Miami-based store Books & Books.
Nine years later, Standiford’s book will finally hit the big screen.
“This one took a little longer than usual but at the end of the day it turned out as good as it possibly could; I have no regrets. I think we’ve created a film that I’m extremely proud of,” said Mickelson.
During production, Standiford worked as an advisor and gave input on how to improve the screenplay. He said the movie shows how much “A Christmas Carol” meant to Charles Dickens, a man who was on top of the world, but was starting to fall off. The movie goes into detail about Dickens’ desperate struggle to have his book succeed when publishers did not trust his judgment.
“It did a great job showing [Dickens’] personal stake,” Standiford said.
The movie will give a more personal perspective of the author that made Christmas become the holiday everyone knows today. It will explore the drama Dickens went through while writing “A Christmas Carol” as he interacts, communicates and argues with characters such as Ebenezer Scrooge and even his father, John Dickens.
“The Man Who Invented Christmas” is distributed by Bleecker Street and was directed by Bharat Nalluri. The screenplay was written by Susan Coyne.
Dan Stevens, well known for his role as the Beast in “Beauty & The Beast” and as Matthew Crawley in “Downton Abbey,” will play Dickens. Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer is Ebenezer Scrooge, and Jonathan Pryce is Charles Dickens father, John Dickens.
The film will open in 500 theaters, along with a possible special premiere screening in Miami, said Kaplan.