How Filmmakers Are Reinventing Famous Characters

The line-up of big period releases for 2023 includes a bunch of returning favourites with ensemble casts, but we’re also seeing a wealth of character-focused productions with as big a range of names as you could imagine.

Ranging from high-profile movie releases to a host of focused biography shows, we’re looking today at how modern filmmakers are creating new takes on classic figures.

The Artful Dodger

The works of Charles Dickens are an integral part of British culture and a staple in the world of period drama, with the original Oliver! being easily the most publicly well-known adaptation. One of the most colourful characters to come out of it was The Artful Dodger, then portrayed as a young pickpocket by Jack Wild, although we never really learned what became of him after waltzing off with Fagin.

A new series due to arrive at the end of the year from the streaming service will find an adult Dodger now working as a surgeon in Australia, making it one of the few times we get a chance to follow up with the later lives of these characters. It will explore the character trying to unlearn a life of crime until this point and will likely frame the lead character as far more complex than the original novel or film adaptations ever have.

Dick Turpin

Comedian Noel Fielding is, later this year, bringing us a version of legendary highwayman Dick Turpin that proves just how far the character has come in popular culture. Once seen as a dashing hero of the lower classes of hundreds of years ago, despite a complete lack of evidence for his deeds, most modern depictions of highwaymen in general have been comical and Turpin is no exception.

The latest series set to show on Apple+ looks to be a fractionally more serious version of the character many will have last seen in Carry On Dick. From early reports, Fielding’s version looks set to be generally hapless as a highwayman but with enough charm and bravado to get by regardless.


Less of a reinvention and more of an exploration of different sides, Archie looks at the life of Cary Grant, one of the leading men of early Hollywood that have been popular recently. They’ve been appearing more frequently in everything from books to games and even casino titles. In that last case, the popularity of main character Rich Wilde is a big factor in why his Book of Dead games so frequently turn up in online casino best offers with the rest of his extensive series.

The fact that the show is titled after the actor’s original name leads us to believe it will look more at the real man behind the stories and legends that naturally come attached to the early stars. With a writer shared with Philomena and Stan & Ollie, expect something realistic and maybe just a little bit gritty.

This isn’t an extensive list of course, and we’re all waiting to see how new adaptations and reboots come out, but hopefully this will give you some interesting new takes to look at.