Mike Newell asked Daniel to play Arthur Havisham, the half-brother of Miss Havisham (played by Helena Bonham Carter), after he realised he had seen Daniel perform several years before as Nicholas Nickleby in London's West End. The Chichester Festival Theatre production ranged over 2 parts and lasted for 7 hours. Initially, Mike and his family had tickets only to the first part, which they saw as a matinee, but at the end of the show they were so excited and involved in the production that they bought tickets for the second part that same evening.
Arthur is a dark character who through frequent drug and alcohol problems falls out of favour with the Havisham family. After his father's death he seeks revenge on Miss Havisham for her involvement in his downfall and plots her humiliation and financial ruin. It is he, along with Compeyson ( as would-be bridegroom) who cause Miss Havisham famously to shut herself in her mansion, forever the bride to be.
During filming Daniel renewed his working relationship with Ralph Fiennes. The two had previously appeared together in Deborah Warner's production of Julius Caesar at the Barbican in 2005.
The film was released in 2012 while Daniel was filming Foyle's War (set in 1946, when David Lean's celebrated version of GE hit the cinemas). Producers toyed with the idea of Daniel's character going to watch it, which would have created an interesting piece of trivia for cinema and Foyle's fans alike.