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Helena Bonham Carter eyeing Great Expectations role

It was announced a while back that Prince of Persia director Mike Newell would be adapting a new version of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations for the cinema, and it seems two of the most significant roles are close to being cast.

National treasure™ Helena Bonham Carter is said to be in talks to play Miss Havisham, the isolated spinster who lives in a dusty shrine to the wedding day on which she was jilted (big white dress and all).

It could be one hell of a role for Bonham Carter, who's been consistently shining in everything she appears in for so long now.

Jeremy Irvine, due to be seen later this year in Steven Spielberg's WWI equine epic War Horse , is said to be in negotiations for the lead role of Pip.

It's no surprise that bagging the lead in the Berg's Michael Morpurgo adaptation has made Irvine hot property. There's no mention yet of who could play Estella, Havisham's adopted daughter and Pip's love interest.

Production is scheduled to begin later this year, with a 2012 release planned to tie in with Dickens' bicentenary.

The novel has been adapted countless times over the years, including a forgettable modern update with Ethan Hawke, but David Lean's 1946 movie is surely the one to beat.

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