Washington Post Article
Posted at 7:27 AM (PST) on Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Washington Post has a very entertaining article. Excerpts:

" 'Bleak House' is a great baggy thing. . . . The plot kind of bulges out. You know, it's like -- no, I was going to say like horrible boils or something. But in a nice way. Can I say that?"

The speaker is screenwriter Andrew Davies, much noted for adaptations ranging from the 1995 miniseries "Pride and Prejudice" to "Bridget Jones's Diary."

Davies, quite pleased with himself, is almost as outrageous as he is gifted and productive, and his PBS keepers find there's little point in trying to restrain the 69-year-old. So yes, Andrew, you can say that.

The top-billed Anderson, who lives and works in Britain, is given star treatment here; after all, she's the production's best-known player. Her face adorns the cover of a newly published edition of the novel, and in the teaser-movie excerpt shown to journalists, her role appears paramount.

In a classy aside, Anderson tells the TV critics: "I understand the politics of it and it's very flattering, but certainly the clip -- and I know why it was done. But the clip gives the impression that Lady Dedlock is the central character. And she's really not the central character. The central character is Esther Summerson."

Anderson's right about that, but it's also true that Lady Dedlock is crucial to the action. And the actress's coldly vulnerable portrayal is one of the film's great strengths. We first see her in the drawing room of her grand estate. She looks out the window and her husband, Sir Leicester, asks whether it's still raining.

"Yes, my love," she answers placidly. "And I am bored to death with it. Bored to death with this place. Bored to death with my life. Bored to death with myself."

It's hard to remember the last time boredom seemed so engaging.

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