‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’ written by FIU professor hits the big screen

(WSVN) - It’s a Christmas tale hundreds of years old, and now the story of how it was made is hitting the big screen. “The Man Who Invented Christmas” tells the story of how Charles Dickens came up with “A Christmas Carol,” and we spoke to the Florida International University professor who wrote the book on it. Chris Van Vliet has the scoop.

When we think of Charles Dickens now, he’s a legendary author, but before he wrote “A Christmas Carol” he was struggling to make ends meet.

We sat down with a local author whose book about a book is now being turned into a movie.

From the book shelves to the big screen, it’s a story behind the story telling the tale of the most popular novel ever published.

With warmth, wit and an infusion of Christmas cheer, the film reveals Charles Dickens’ desire to re-ignite his career.

Les Standiford, author and FIU professor: “This is a book about a fellow writing a book, but what you get a chance to see is all these amazing characters — like Tiny Tim and Scrooge and all ghosts of Christmas past, present and future — coming alive in Dickens’ mind, and it’s really thrilling.”

The work of a historian and local author is the inspiration behind it all. Standiford’s novel “The Man Who Invented Christmas” sparked the major motion picture.

Standiford says he got the brilliant idea nearly a decade ago.

Les Standiford: “I got an e-mail asking me did I know ‘A Christmas Carol’ nearly didn’t get publish, that Dickens had to spend his own money to get it published himself, that Christmas is not the hot holiday it is this day. The answer to all those questions was ‘I didn’t know any of those things,’ and I figured it had been taken from some book. Those mass e-mails usually are. I went looking for that book, and I couldn’t find it. I said, ‘You know what? I’ve got an idea.’ I went out and wrote the book. It took a couple years to get it done, get it into stores, and now here it is — a movie.”

Starring Christopher Plummer as Scrooge and Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens, the movie whisks us back to the era of young Dickens after three of his latest books flopped.

In just six weeks, he wrote the story of Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge only to have his book rejected by his publishers.

Standiford hopes moviegoers will be moved by the magic of the film and seek out the book itself.

Les Standiford: “I’m hopeful that this will be a chance for millions of more people to see and hear this story than ever would have before. That’s really why I wrote it. I thought it was a great story that people would be fascinated by.”

He says the whole process has inspired him to start a new project that takes the story to the stage.

Les Standiford: “It made me want to write a stage-play version. I said, ‘Hey, there’s been a book and now a movie, there should be a play,’ and that’s what I’m working on.”

“The Man Who Invented Christmas” is now playing in theaters.

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