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View Full Version : His Dark Materials to be a movie?


Rubystreak
04-01-2003, 10:22 PM
According to SciFi Wire, Philip Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials is likely going to be made into a movie, possibly directed by Brett Ratner. Granted, it's still in development, but it sounds like it's moving along nicely.

http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/art-main.html?2003-03/28/11.45.film

What do you guys think? Can this series be successfully translated into a movie that's faithful to the books (atheist ending intact)? Is this just a ploy to cash in on the success of LotR and Harry Potter? (God I hope not) Any brilliant casting ideas?

elfkin477
04-02-2003, 11:54 AM
I think it could work. As much as I disliked the books, I think there is a story worth being told in there- it's just not worth the effort of wading through the writer's style to find it. It could be a lot like the LOTR books (which I also hate), and be more interesting and accessible when the author's writing isn't an issue beyond dialogue. Good screen writing might even make Lyra into a 3-D and likeable character, that might be too much of a change from the books, though <shrugs> As for casting...I gave up halfway through the second book and still never figured out how old the protagonist was supposed to be. It's hard to recommend an actress when you don't know if she's supposed to be 10 or 14.

Even if it is a ploy to make money- and let's be honest, what movie isn't? - it still might be a good thing. Look at Harry Potter, after the news for first movie the books' popularity surged, and it got kids who "hate to read" reading, so how could it be a bad thing? For kids, that is, which is the most important audience for this type of series. Even if it turns out to be a bad movie, it might encourage the greater good.

Yorikke
04-02-2003, 05:40 PM
Hated the LOTR books, have very much enjoyed the (new) movies. Liked the Harry Potter books, disliked the first movie, haven't seen the second. I LOVED the Pullman books. A film or films could go fantastically wrong. If the core of the story, including the ending, were significantly altered, I'd not see the film(s).

Brett Ratner? I did like Rush Hour fairly well, and the second one was decent, and Red Dragon was infinitely better than Hannibal, and a bit better than Manhunter, IMHO. I dunno...

If they get John Goodman to play the armored bear, I frickin' quit!

hrh

Razzy
04-02-2003, 05:50 PM
I just finished reading these last week, and yes, the rumor is that they've been tapped to become the latest franchise. I think that, if done right, they could be really good movies. Granted, that's to be said for most book-to-screen adaptations, but in cases of the fantasy genre, I find it especially true.

Hopefully they'll go the Harry Potter route and cast unknowns, but I can totally see this being done the same way "Final Fantasy" was done. CGI has become the new animation, and it could be the film's saving grace.

And I do agree on hrh's comment about John Goodman :-)

My very first post here!

Rubystreak
04-02-2003, 06:52 PM
Welcome Razzy! I'm flattered that my thread was your first. I also like the idea of unknowns being cast, but I imagine they might go for Lyra's parents, just as they cast well-known actors in the adult roles in Harry Potter. Any casting thoughts for them?

Razzy
04-03-2003, 03:12 AM
Hey Rubystreak! I love reading Threadspotting, so I thought I'd pop over from my usual boards and check out some new ones...I like what I read so far!

Hmm...That's a good question for the casting...Maybe Naomi Watts for Mrs. Coulter, or is she not really old enough? She seems to me to have that kind of malicious beauty, very cold--but still warm enough to make you sympathize with her later. For about 5 seconds I thought of Cate Blanchett, but she's not really "pretty" enough, although she is striking--same with Gwyneth(sp?) Paltrow.

For Lord Asriel, I'm almost thinking Jeremy Irons could do it. Now, I know he's probably TOO old, but I hear his voice every time. Too bad Alan Rickman is taken! Ken Branagh? (one of my faves) Could be a nice breakthrough, "mainstream" role for Adrien Brody!

I really hope they go with unknowns for the kids, because if Spielberg gets hold of it, we'll have Haley Joel Osment for Will, and Tom Hanks for Asriel...ew!

Your thoughts?

Theobroma
04-03-2003, 08:13 AM
Yeah, Haley Joel Osment would be just the right age for Will, and he can pull off that intensity.

Can Mrs. Coulter be anyone but Catherine Zeta-Jones? I pictured her as I was reading. Well...maybe Nicole Kidman if C Z-J is busy with the new baby.

And then, of course, Michael Douglas for Lord Asriel. Yeah.

Lyra is supposed to be kind of an intense, creative, and cunning brat, so one of the Teen Nick perkykids (say, Amanda Bynes) would be too old and all wrong. Lyra is supposed to be, I think, around twelve.

Gotta think about that one.

John Goodman is too feel-good for Iorek. That's why he plays very sympathetic characters...you need someone who sounds more dangerous. Robby Benson? (I assume the character will be CGI)

I'll think about it. More to come.

jjimm
04-03-2003, 08:24 AM
OOh, it would have to be really well made for me to appreciate it.

Re. casting: let's just remind ourselves that, arpart from Lee Scoresby, the Tartars and the Russians, most of the human protagonists are English, so English actors, or those who are able to do a good accent, would be a major prerequisite (for me, anyway).

Acdording to micilin, Philip Pullman himself favours Nicole Kidman for Mrs. Coulter.

Rubystreak
04-03-2003, 02:13 PM
I could see Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter. Having seen her in To Die For and Malice, she can be pretty scary when she's angry. However, Naomi Watts and Catherince Z-J would be great too.

As for Asrael, I always pictured a really handsome guy, about a decade older than Coulter; definitely not Michael Douglas, as he's too old and folksy-seeming to me. I like the idea of Jeremy Irons, but he too is a bit too old now. I'd love to see George Clooney in a serious turn, but that seems unlikely. Someday dark and brooding and handsome. Even Johnny Depp might be good.

Isn't there a Culkin they could cast as Will? Haley Joel is good, but he's not the only kid actor in the world. I really liked the boy who played Marcus in About a Boy, Nicholas Hoult.

Loneraven
04-03-2003, 03:46 PM
The CGI daemons would probably be my favourite part of the films. I think they would be quite a challenge, as they have to look photo-realistic, while also constanstly shape-shifting in the case of the children's daemons.

I'm assuming, of course, that the daemons would be CGI, but I don't really see an alternative...

Razzy
04-03-2003, 04:41 PM
Nicole could do it quite well, I think.

Mmmmm...Johnny Depp.....now I'm all distracted...darn it! Daniel Day-Lewis with hair, maybe?

Haley Joel Osment is too wussy to be Will. "I see Dust People!" If they cast him, they may as well cast Daniel Radcliffe. Maybe Keiran Culkin? How old is he now?

I still think the kids need to be unknowns, or at least very-little knowns, the way they did Harry Potter.

So much of the movie is going to have to be CGI, maybe they should just make the whole thing that way...I'd hate to constantly be thinking "that is SO in front of a green screen" It'd spoil everything!

Super Gnat
04-03-2003, 04:43 PM
Random thought: it would be sorta cool if the characters voiced their own daemons, maybe digitally altered a little bit so we could tell them apart.

The children would probably be best as unknowns. Lee Scoresby should be Amerindian or Hispanic; can't think of anyone off the top of my head. Could James Earl Jones voice Iorek? I think C Z-J would make an excellent Mrs. Coulter. I can't really peg anyone other than that.

Canadagirl
04-03-2003, 08:53 PM
I think His Dark Materials would make a good movie. It's an interesting story, but I just hope they don't wreck it by going big screen.

elfkin477
04-03-2003, 09:38 PM
Originally posted by Razzy
Haley Joel Osment is too wussy to be Will. "I see Dust People!" If they cast him, they may as well cast Daniel Radcliffe. Maybe Keiran Culkin? How old is he now?

21 in September. http://us.imdb.com/Name?Culkin,+Kieran Will's only 14 or so, right? Rory's (from Signs) the one that age.

ricksummon
04-04-2003, 12:36 AM
Can this series be successfully translated into a movie that's faithful to the books (atheist ending intact)?It's not the atheist part of the ending that's the problem. It's the fact that the ending doesn't make any sense.

Lord Asriel wants to break the Church's power over the world. To do that, he's not going to attack them directly; instead, he's going to take out God himself, and he does. The only problem is, nothing changes! The Church is still in power on Lyra's world, and the evil "shadow" government is still in power on Will's world, but both kids are sent back to their respective worlds without even the slightest concern that every single person in both governments is still hunting them down.

stringy
04-04-2003, 01:37 AM
I can see Julianne Moore as Mrs. Coulter, but Nicole Kidman or Catherine Zeta-Jones would also be good, I think.

Alan Rickman would be interesting as Lord Asrael. I can't think of anyone else appropriate right now, but I have the nagging feeling I'm forgetting about someone suitable...

However, as much fun as cast speculation is, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the idea of this story as a movie. I think Peter Jackson (and to a lesser extent, the Harry Potter movies) have shown that fantasy can be done well on the big screen, but I still get nervous when I hear about my favourite books being picked up by Hollywood.

Theobroma
04-04-2003, 03:21 AM
Yeah, you are all correct, Haley Joel Osment is not British, and Will & Lyra must be British. However, I was not correct--by the time Subtle Knife starts filming, HJO would be too old.

How about Billy Bob Thornton as Lee Scoresby? Not lovable enough? He can get a tattoo of his daemon...

kidding!

jjimm
04-04-2003, 03:32 AM
Originally posted by Theobroma
Yeah, you are all correct, Haley Joel Osment is not British, and Will & Lyra must be British. However, I was not correct--by the time Subtle Knife starts filming, HJO would be too old.Not just British, but English - the vernacular that Lyra and Will use are very specifically Oxfordshire (which is where I grew up - Pullman writes it incredibly accurately).How about Billy Bob Thornton as Lee Scoresby? Not lovable enough? He can get a tattoo of his daemon...

kidding! I think this is an excellent choice.

Drastic
04-04-2003, 03:38 AM
I'd rather see this tackled as a purely animated film, so much of it would have to be cgi anyway (unless they plan to use muppets for the daemons, and put someone in a giant armored bear costume). Plus, doing it that way would loosen up the probable difficulty in finding child actors with enough presence and acting chops that still looked the age the characters are supposed to be.

Loneraven
04-04-2003, 06:06 PM
I don't know... I don't think it would work as an animated film, because they're always associated with children, and the trilogy is for all ages.

Incidentally, what would the first installment be called? The Golden Compass or Northern Lights? Being British, I prefer Northern Lights, myself, but what does everyone else think?

asterion
04-04-2003, 10:35 PM
I don't know, Loneraven, what are the titles of the other two in the UK? If they are the same, I prefer The Golden Compass, as it fits better with the other two titles.

stringy
04-05-2003, 01:04 AM
John Rys Davies as a voice for Iorek?

jjimm
04-06-2003, 06:29 AM
Originally posted by asterion
I don't know, Loneraven, what are the titles of the other two in the UK? If they are the same, I prefer The Golden Compass, as it fits better with the other two titles. Only the first novel changed its name when it crossed the Atlantic. I agree about The Golden Compass being more consistent.

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