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About The Story
GREAT EXPECTATIONS began its journey to the big screen when co-producer John Linson convinced his father, noted producer Art Linson, to remake the timeless tale

GREAT EXPECTATIONS began its journey to the big screen when co­producer John Linson convinced his father, noted producer Art Linson, to remake the timeless tale. "At first I thought it would be too difficult to translate to modern times," says Art Linson. "Then, after watching David Lean's version and re­reading the Dickens novel, I realized that the story had some wonderful and timeless themes about coincidence, wanting things you can't have, and trying to obtain respect. All these elements provided the potential to turn a classic into a modern tale."

Linson turned to his long­time friend and collaborator Mitch Glazer to write the screenplay. "At first, I couldn't figure out how to update the story," recalls Glazer. "It seemed so specific to Dickens' time, which was marked by a continuing conflict between the aristocracy and the working class. But the more I thought about it, I realized the film didn't have to be about class at all."

Glazer's experiences growing up in Florida were a strong influence on his screenplay. "I came up with the idea of the 'Pip' character being a fisherman's nephew and stumbling upon this eccentric Palm Beach matron," continues Glazer who, like the film's central character, later migrated to New York. "My family used to vacation in Palm Beach and I remembered these former showgirls, millionaire women, trapped in huge mansions. They looked like they were eighteen­years­old ­ until they turned around. I thought they would be a great way to update the 'Miss Havisham' character. Once I had that, the rest of the story fell into place."

Another inspirational childhood experience was a magical, sensual kiss at a water fountain that Glazer remembers as "an electrifying experience." However, it was the writer's eleven­year­old daughter, Shane, who really sparked his imagination. "Shane enjoys drawing beautiful pictures," Glazer relates. "There is something so pure about it. And I wondered, what if something so pure were perverted through celebrity and success? That became the idea of making Finn an artist who goes to New York to have his own one­man art show and win Estella's love through fame and celebrity."

Careful not to aim for a literal remake of Dickens' novel, Glazer altered the names of characters, except for 'Estella' for which he claims there is no match. "Dickens' 'Magwitch' and 'Miss Havisham' seemed too spectacular, almost untouchable to my ear," he insists. "I thought a modern equivalent would give us more freedom."

Producer Art Linson sent Glazer's completed screenplay to Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron. Linson had seen two of Cuaron's previous films, the critically acclaimed "A Little Princess," Cuaron's American directing debut, and the more controversial "Love in the Time of Hysteria," a Mexican comedy about AIDS that garnered Cuaron much attention in Hollywood. "I wanted GREAT EXPECTATIONS to have the magic of 'A Little Princess' and the comic edge of 'Love in the Time of Hysteria'," Linson says. "I also knew that Alfonso could give it size, make it look like a 'big' movie, but the scale would come from his eye and from his heart."

Despite Linson's persistent efforts to woo the director, Cuaron was initially hesitant to take the helm of GREAT EXPECTATIONS. "At first I told Art, 'No way,' he recalls, confiding that David

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