Hugh Laurie Takes Mr. Pip

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Hugh Laurie is set to play a lead role in the adaptation of the Lloyd Jones novel Mr. Pip, Variety is reporting. Andrew Adamson is attached to both write and direct the film version.

Laurie will play Mr. Watts, a schoolteacher whose student finds an imaginary friend in the character of Pip from “Great Expectations”. The official description of the novel is as follows:

On a copper-rich tropical island shattered by war, where the teachers have fled with most everyone else, only one white man chooses to stay behind: the eccentric Mr. Watts, object of much curiosity and scorn, who sweeps out the ruined schoolhouse and begins to read to the children each day from Charles Dickens’s classic ‘Great Expectations’.

So begins this rare, original story about the abiding strength that imagination, once ignited, can provide. As artillery echoes in the mountains, thirteen-year-old Matilda and her peers are riveted by the adventures of a young orphan named Pip in a city called London, a city whose contours soon become more real than their own blighted landscape. As Mr. Watts says, “A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe.” Soon come the rest of the villagers, initially threatened, finally inspired to share tales of their own that bring alive the rich mythology of their past. But in a ravaged place where even children are forced to live by their wits and daily survival is the only objective, imagination can be a dangerous thing.

Laurie, best known for playing the title character in the long-running medical drama “House,” recently appeared on the big screen as a voice in Universal’s Hop. Adamson, meanwhile, directed the first two films in both the Shrek and Chronicles of Narnia franchises.