Skip to navigationSkip to content
Dev Patel
AP/Invision/Chris Pizzello
He does rags-to-riches well.
DEV-ELOPMENT

Dev Patel will play another “slumdog millionaire,” David Copperfield

By Thu-Huong Ha

Dev Patel has really found his niche.

The Oscar-nominated star of Lion and Slumdog Millionaire will act in another rags-to-riches film, a modern adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic 1850 novel, David CopperfieldVariety reports.

The movie will be written and directed by another impressive gymnast of vulgar vernacular, Armando Iannucci, creator of Veep and The Thick of It, and director of In the Loop. Iannucci fans will have a chance to see the screenwriter and director, known for his scatological satire of political buffoonery, take on the cruel and colorful Victorian-era England of David Copperfield.

The book is about a downtrodden and abused boy who grows up to become a renowned author. The character is based on Dickens himself, and was, of course, white—unlike Patel, who was born in London to immigrants from Kenya of Indian descent. Variety reports that the film “will offer a modern take on Dickens’ title character.” The book was immensely popular during Dickens’s lifetime, as were most of his works. Copperfield was also Dickens’ favorite of his novels.

Fans of the book praise its unique characters and the chapters about David’s childhood. Wrote the poet Brad Leithauser of the novel in 2012:

A passion for human peculiarity fortifies most of Dickens’s fiction, but it shows special potency when filtered through the eyes of the boy David, who is such a scrupulous, fervent interpreter of the world. He has to be. For him, a grasping of diverse personal motivations isn’t merely a satisfying of curiosity. It’s a necessity. David’s future, his deliverance from the forces determined to annihilate him, depends on his ability to construe character.