Armando Iannucci has revealed he is determined to keep the ''spirit'' of the CHARLES DICKENS novel alive when he adapts 'The Personal History of David Copperfield' into a movie.

The 54-year-old filmmaker is set to helm an adaptation of the 1850 novel by Charles Dickens, and has insisted that whilst his movie won't be an exact retelling of the book's 900 pages, he does want to make sure the ''language and characters'' are properly portrayed.

When asked if he would be staying close to the book, he said: ''The spirit of the book, yeah. It's 900 pages long and there's only so much that you can do, so we've had to make decisions and we've had to compress and lose things. The comedy of it can get lost.

''A lot of adaptations tend to just want to tell the story, but not enjoy the language or the characters. In fact, it's the language and the characters that make it, so it's about mining that and making a story out of the language and the characters, in the spirit of Dickens. It's about taking that and working hard on the adaptation.

''It's as time-consuming as doing an original screenplay because you're taking the elements that inspire you, and then trying to make a movie. You have to be as thorough with an adaptation, as you do with an original screenplay.''

Armando was drawn to the novel - which tells a version of Dickens' own life through the eyes of the titular character - because there aren't many movie versions of the story, and praised the novel as a ''human book''.

Speaking to, the 'Veep' creator said: ''There aren't that many film versions of it, and everyone thinks they know it, but they don't. If you ask them about it, they'll go, 'It's got Mr. Micawber in it, hasn't it?', but that's it. It's got these great characters, and it's a fantastic story. It's the first novel he wrote in the first person and he mined his old childhood in the book. He had a terrible childhood, and then started to use it as part of his career, as a writer, but he also started making mistakes, as to who he married and who he's friends with. It's a very human book. It's an interesting book with fascinating characters. It's just a great story.''