The Man Who Invented Christmas

1 hr 44 min

PG

In October 1843, Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) was suffering from the failure of his last three books. Rejected by his publishers, he set out to write and self-publish a book he hoped would keep his family afloat and revive his career. Directed by Bharat Nalluri from Les Standifordas book of the same name, THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS tells the story of the six fever-pitched weeks in which Dickens created A Christmas Carol. The film takes audiences inside the magical process that brought to life Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), Tiny Tim and others, changing the holiday into the merry family event we know today.

  • 1 hr 44 minPG
  • Drama

Cast & Crew

  • Christopher Plummer

    Christopher PlummerEbenezer Scrooge

    Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer was born in Toronto, Ontario. He is the only child of Isabella Mary (Abbott), a secretary to the Dean of Sciences at McGill University, and John Orme Plummer, who sold securities and stocks. He is a great-grandson of John Abbott, who was Canada's third Prime Minister (from 1891 to 1892), and a great-great-great-grandson of Anglican clergyman John Bethune. He has Scottish, English, and Anglo-Irish ancestry. Plummer was raised in Senneville, Quebec, by Montreal. Until the 2009 Academy Awards were announced, it could be said about Plummer that he was the finest actor of the post-World War II period to fail to get an Academy Award. In that, he was following in the footsteps of the late great John Barrymore, whom Plummer so memorably portrayed on Broadway in a one-man show that brought him his second Tony Award. In 2010, Plummer finally got an Oscar nod for his portrayal of another legend, Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009). Two years later, the first paragraph of his obituary was written when the 82-year-old Plummer became the oldest person in Academy history to win an Oscar. He won for playing a senior citizen who comes out as gay after the death of his wife in the movie Beginners (2010). As he clutched his statuette, the debonaire thespian addressed it thusly: "You're only two years older than me darling, where have you been all of my life?" Plummer then told the audience that at birth, "I was already rehearsing my Academy acceptance speech, but it was so long ago mercifully for you I've forgotten it." The Academy Award was a long time in coming and richly deserved. Aside from the youngest member of the Barrymore siblings (which counted Oscar-winners Ethel Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore in their number), Christopher Plummer is the premier Shakespearean actor to come out of North America in the 20th century. He was particularly memorable as Hamlet, Iago and Lear, though his Macbeth opposite Glenda Jackson was -- and this was no surprise to him due to the famous curse attached to the "Scottish Play" -- a failure. Plummer also has given many fine portrayals on film, particularly as he grew older and settled down into a comfortable marriage with his third wife Elaine. He thanked her from the stage during the 2012 Oscar telecast, quipping that she "deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for coming to my rescue every day of my life." Like another great stage actor, Richard Burton, the younger Plummer failed to connect with the screen in a way that would make him a star. Dynamic on stage, the charisma failed to transfer through the lens onto celluloid. Burton's early film career, when he was a contract player at 20th Century-Fox, failed to ignite despite his garnering two Oscar nominations early on. He did not become a superstar until the mid-1960s, after hooking up with Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Cleopatra (1963). It was Liz whom he credited with teaching him how to act on film. Christopher Plummer never made it as a leading man in films. Perhaps if he had been born earlier, and acted in the studio system of Hollywood's golden age, he could have been carefully groomed for stardom. As it was he shared the English stage actors' disdain -- and he was equally at home in London as he was on the boards of Broadway or on-stage in his native Canada -- for the movies, which did not help him in that medium, as he has confessed. As he aged, Plummer excelled at character parts. He was always a good villain, this man who garnered kudos playing Lucifer on Broadway in Archibald Macleish's Pulitzer Prize-winning "J.B.". Though he likely always be remembered as "Captain Von Trapp" in the atomic bomb-strength blockbuster The Sound of Music (1965) (a film he publicly despised until softening his stance in his 2008 autobiography "In Spite of Me"), his later film work includes such outstanding performances as the best cinema Sherlock Holmes--other than Basil Rathbone -- in Murder by Decree (1979), the chilling villain in The Silent Partner (1978), his iconoclastic Mike Wallace in The Insider (1999), the empathetic psychiatrist in A Beautiful Mind (2001), and as Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009). It was this last role that finally brought him recognition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, when he was nominated as Best Actor in a supporting role. Plummer remains one of the most respected and honored actors performing in the English language. He's won two Emmy Awards out of six nominations stretching 46 years from 1959 and 2005, and one Genie Award in five nominations from 1980 to 2004. For his stage work, Plummer has racked up two Tony Awards on six nominations, the first in 1974 as Best Actor (Musical) for the title role in "Cyrano" and the second in 1997, as Best Actor (Play), in "Barrymore". Surprisingly, he did not win (though he was nominated) for his masterful 2004 performance of "King Lear", which he originated at the Stratford Festival in Ontario and brought down to Broadway for a sold-out run. His other Tony nominations show the wide range of his talent, from a 1959 nod for the Elia Kazan-directed production of Macleish's "J.B." to recognition in 1994 for Harold Pinter's "No Man's Land", with a 1982 Best Actor (Play) nomination for his "Iago" in William Shakespeare's "Othello". He continues to be a very in-demand character actor in prestigious motion pictures. If he were English rather than Canadian, he'd have been knighted long ago. (In 1968, he was awarded Companion of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honor and one which required the approval of the sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II.) If he lived in the company town of Los Angeles rather than in Connecticut, he likely would have several more Oscar nominations before winning his first for "The Last Station". As it is, as attested to in his witty and well-written autobiography, Christopher Plummer has been amply rewarded in life. In 1970, Plummer - a self-confessed 43-year-old "bottle baby" - married his third wife, dancer Elaine Taylor, who helped wean him off his dependency on alcohol. They live happily with their dogs on a 30-acre estate in Weston, Connecticut. Although he spends the majority of his time in the United States, he remains a Canadian citizen. His daughter, with actress Tammy Grimes, is actress Amanda Plummer.
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  • Dan Stevens

    Dan StevensCharles Dickens

    Dan Stevens was born at Croydon in Surrey on 10th October 1982. His parents are teachers. He was educated at Tonbridge School and trained in acting at the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. He studied English Literature at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Whilst he was a Cambridge undergraduate, he acted in several student drama productions. He played the title role in the Marlowe Dramatic Society's production of William Shakespeare's play, "Macbeth". This was staged at the Cambridge Arts Theatre from Tuesday 26th February to Saturday 2nd March 2002. The cast also featured Rebecca Hall in the roles of Lady Macbeth and Hecate. During one of his university summer holidays in August 2003 he went to Slovakia where he filmed his scenes for the Hallmark production of Frankenstein (2004). Dan played the part of Henry Clerval and the mini-series was first broadcast on American television on 5th October 2004. Shortly after graduating from Cambridge Dan was nominated for an Ian Charleson award for his performance as Orlando in "As You Like It" at the Rose Theatre at Kingston in Surrey. "As You Like It" was directed by Peter Hall and ran from 30th November to 18th December 2004. This production for the Peter Hall Company subsequently went on a tour of America in the early months of 2005, playing at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, the Curran Theater in San Francisco and the Harvey Theater at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City. It featured Rebecca Hall in the role of Rosalind. Dan was reunited with the director Peter Hall when he played Claudio in a new production of the Shakespeare play, "Much Ado About Nothing", for the Peter Hall Company at the Theatre Royal in Bath from 29th June to 6th August 2005. In February 2006 Dan played the parts of Marban and Maitland in a revival of Howard Brenton's controversial play, "The Romans in Britain", directed by Samuel West at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Then in May 2006 he played Nick Guest, the protagonist in The Line of Beauty (2006). This three part television mini-series was adapted by Andrew Davies from the 2004 Booker prize winning novel by Alan Hollinghurst. The Line of Beauty (2006) is about Nick Guest's relationship with his university friend Toby Fedden. The story takes place in the 1980s. It is set against the backdrop of Margaret Thatcher's free market economic policies and the spread of the acquired immunity deficiency syndrome, (AIDS). These two social developments directly affect the characters in the story because Toby's father Gerald is a Conservative member of parliament and Nick is homosexual. Whilst The Line of Beauty (2006) was being broadcast on BBC television, Dan was appearing as Simon Bliss in the Noël Coward play, "Hay Fever". This play was staged at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London from 11th April to 5th August 2006 and the cast also included Judi Dench in the role of Judith Bliss. At the end of the year Dan played Lord Holmwood in a television dramatization of Dracula (2006), which was broadcast on 28th December 2006. In 2007 Dan played the part of Michael Faber in Miss Marple: Nemesis (2007), an Agatha Christie adaptation with Geraldine McEwan in the role of Miss Jane Marple. He also featured in the cast of Maxwell (2007), a television drama about the famous newspaper magnate. Maxwell (2007) was first broadcast on British television on 4th May 2007. David Suchet played Robert Maxwell, and Dan took the part of Basil Brookes, one of the press baron's financial directors. Dan played the part of Edward Ferrars in a television dramatization of Jane Austen's novel, Sense & Sensibility (2008). This was broadcast in three episodes on BBC1 between Tuesday 1st and Sunday 13th January 2008. The novel was adapted for television by Andrew Davies, whom Dan had previously worked with on The Line of Beauty (2006). Davies felt that the part of Edward Ferrars was underdeveloped in the book, and so he deliberately added scenes not included in the novel to help draw out the character. So, for instance, we saw Edward out horse riding on the Norland estate and chopping logs at Barton Cottage. In the DVD audio commentary Dan joked that this was the best example of log chopping ever seen on British television! After Sense & Sensibility (2008), Dan featured in the cast of "The Tennis Court", a BBC Radio 4 Saturday play broadcast on 19th January 2008. He also played Nicky Lancaster in a revival of the Noël Coward play, "The Vortex", at the Apollo Theatre in London from Wednesday 20th February to Saturday 7th June 2008. This was another collaboration with the stage director, Peter Hall. Dan played the eponymous hero of "Dickens Confidential", a six part radio drama series set in the 1830s which imagines what might have happened if Charles Dickens had continued his career as a journalist. This was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between Monday 9th June and Monday 14th July 2008. He played the part of Peregrine in 'Orley Farm', the BBC Radio 4 Classic Serial. This was a three part adaptation of the novel by Anthony Trollope broadcast between Sunday 28th December 2008 and Sunday 11th January 2009. A month later he played Duval in the BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour drama, 'The Lady of the Camellias'. This was broadcast between Monday 2nd and Friday 6th February 2009.
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  • COSIMO FUSCO

    COSIMO FUSCOSignor Mazzini

    Cosimo Fusco was born on September 23, 1962 in Matera, Basilicata, Italy as Cosimo Massimo Fusco. He is an actor and director, known for Angels & Demons (2009), Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000) and Good and Evil (2009).
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  • DONALD SUMPTER

    DONALD SUMPTERJacob Marley

    Donald Sumpter was born on February 13, 1943 in Brixworth, Northamptonshire, England as Donald A Sumpter. He is an actor, known for In the Heart of the Sea (2015), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) and The Constant Gardener (2005).
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  • IAN MCNEICE

    IAN MCNEICEChapman

    Ian McNeice went to Taunton School in Somerset and then had two years at the Salisbury Playhouse as an Acting A.S.M. before going to L.A.M.D.A. 1971-74. The next few years were spent in theatre, including four years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, ending with "Nicholas Nickleby" on Broadway. His TV breakthrough was as Harcourt in the B.A.F.T.A award-wining series Edge of Darkness (1985). His American screen breakthrough was playing opposite Jim Carrey as Fulton Greenwall in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995).
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  • Jonathan Pryce

    Jonathan PryceJohn Dickens

    From Holywell to Hollywood, Jonathan Pryce, CBE is a critically acclaimed and award winning actor from North Wales, internationally regarded as the one of greatest ones both on stage and screen. Renowned for his immense versatility and powerful presence he has transcended the industry, effortlessly moving between Hollywood studio films and the classical West End in a range of work that also includes bold independent cinema and the Broadway musical. He has created some of the most memorable characters in cinema and for over forty years been on the wish list of many of the worlds most notorious and accomplished directors as 'Someone they must work with'. Jonathan, after graduating from the world famous RADA in London, began his career in the 1970's at the hugely influential Liverpool Everyman Theatre which grounded his politics and talent and helped attract a legacy of brave individual artists that have since been through their doors. From his definitive performance as Hamlet, he made his breakthrough screen performance in Terry Gilliam's masterpiece Brazil (1985). The phrase an 'Actors Actor' is often overused but with Jonathan Pryce I can think of no better fitting tribute because what that means to the industry is - here is a talent people want to watch and people want to work with. His choices can be considered as bold as they should be as well as always truthful that give life to characters multi-layered and always exciting, where it can be even hard to believe that he is just one man. As in his stage course that includes notable performances such as in "Hamlet", "The Merchant of Venice", "The Goat or Who is Sylvia?", "The Taming of the Shrew", "Miss Saigon", "Oliver", "Comedians" and "King Lear", Jonathan Pryce's range of staggering portrayals full of generously euphoric delight has also been expressed in films such as Brazil (1985), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), The Age of Innocence (1993), Carrington (1995), Evita (1996), Behind the Lines (1997), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Very Annie Mary (2001), Unconditional Love (2002) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) as well as in mesmerizing TV roles such as in Roger Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1981), Game of Thrones (2011), My Zinc Bed (2008), Wolf Hall (2015) and Taboo (2017).
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Cast & Crew photos provided by TMDb.

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