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Well, this looks like a LOT of fun. Films about writers can be rather ponderous affairs, but we think The Man Who Invented Christmas starring Dan Stevens will prove to be the exception.

Dan plays a young Charles Dickens struggling to come up with a story that will sell after “a couple of flops” and sort out his ailing finances.

Joining him in his quest is Christopher Plummer as Dickens’ evergreen invention Ebeneezer Scrooge, Jonathan Pryce as his father John, Simon Callow (who has himself played Dickens on numerous occasions, most notably in Doctor Who), The Thick of It‘s Justin Edwards as Dickens’ friend and critic John Forster, and the inimitable Miriam Margoyles (The Age of Innocence).

And sell the story did, because the book in question is A Christmas Carol, the 1843 novella that established his reputation as a writer and, as the film argues, invented the concept of Christmas as we know it.

The trailer dropped yesterday (September 5), and gives us a glimpse of how the film will bring Dickens’ vivid imagination and unforgettable characters (literally) to life:

Dan himself has enthused about the film’s playful approach to literary genius, describing it as a “magical realist” story that at times plays fast and loose with the source material.

I just thought it was a really fresh take on that whole world,” he told Entertainment Weekly yesterday (September 5). “Particularly in England, Dickens is placed on a pedestal. But the guy was, at turns, quite playful and childish, and, at turns, quite dark and not a very pleasant man.”

It’s the latest in a long list of mercurial roles the Downton star has taken on since leaving the confines of the Crawley estate, including a murderous veteran in The Guest, a mutant with dissociative identity disorder in FX’s Legion, and the brutish Prince Adam in Beauty and the Beast.

The Man Who Invented Christmas opens in theaters on November 22, just in time for… well, you guessed it.

Do you like the look of this take on Charles Dickens?

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.