Meaghan Kirby
Updated Nov 17, 2017 @ 3:50 pm

It’s no secret that Hollywood never shies away from a classic literary adaptation.

From the endless Shakespearean adaptations to yet another take on Sherlock Holmes, our favorite childhood classics are always being explores in film. Alongside Shakespeare and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, sits 19th Century British novelist Charles Dickens, whose wide-ranging body of work — including Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and of course, A Christmas Carol — is transformed for the screen every few years.

But while Dickens’ work is often adapted into films and series, the writer himself — whose own upbringing heavily influenced his work — hasn’t been widely explored through the lens of a camera.

Dan Stevens’ new film, The Man Who Invented Christmas takes on this fresh perspective in bringing A Christmas Carol to the big screen, focusing on Dickens’ struggle to write the novella in just six weeks while battling with “ghosts” of his own. HelloGiggles recently spoke with Stevens about the film, and the Legion actor opened up about his opportunity bring a different side of the iconic literary figure to life.

Credit: Bleecker Street

The film, which often portrays Dickens as a campy writer — talking loudly to himself and making random noises before a name or idea clicked — also illustrates how the writer’s difficult childhood left him with ghosts of his own, drawing a parallel between Dickens and Ebenezer Scrooge, the iconic and dark protagonist of his novella. According to Stevens, Dickens’ mentality in the film reflects “artist’s struggle” he was going through during his creative process writing A Christmas Carol, with the creative team using letters and diaries from from Dickens and his friends and family to piece it all together. Touching on that, Stevens elaborates, “[Dickens] dances this very interesting line between childish, silly, playful sense of humor and this very sort of dark, depressive streak. And I think that’s the line that we danced in the film as well.”

But, the Downton Abbey actor was well aware of the challenges in taking on the role of a renowned figure like Charles Dickens, who nearly 200 years later, often seems more like a legendary figure than an actual person. While admitting that he as a kid, never thought he’d grow up to play the literary icon, Stevens did open up about Dickens’ impact on his life and society in general.

While The Man Who Invented Christmas tells the story of Dickens writing A Christmas Carol, the film — in its own way — still tells the story of Scrooge, taking viewers through the sequence of events as Dickens comes up with the story. Naturally, we couldn’t help but ask Stevens about his favorite adaptation — and really, it’s a no brainer.

Catch Dan Stevens in The Man Who Invented Christmas in theaters November 22nd.