The Golden Compass - "His Dark Material" trilogy being filmed?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Sean Laughter, Dec 10, 2002.

  1. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    I thought I read somewhere that New Line is prepping this trilogy for release. I've never read the books and am wondering if I should, mainly because from what I hear about how "disrespectful" the story is concerning religion I wonder how well this will go over when Potter already has a bad time of it in certain religious circles. Has anyone read these books, how are they, and what do you think of the prospects of the films?
     
  2. peter_anderson

    peter_anderson Stunt Coordinator

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    Sean: I read the Dark Materials trilogy last year after finishing all the Harry Potter books. They are really good fantasy in my opinion, but not nearly as captivating as Harry Potter. Therefore, I think it would be a mistake to make films of these books.
    I think that the religion issue is so prevalent in the first book that it would be nearly impossible to make a movie appropriate for modern public consumption! Not necessarily because of controversy, but it is just really complicated! In the third book, if I remember correctly, there is even more of the "religious powers that be" as the source of evil (scientific research using children as subjects in daemon-removal [you have to read the books to understand "daemon" in this context] experiments).
     
  3. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    Well, I'm not sure being "not nearly as captivating as Harry Potter" should automatically qualify something as being unfit to be filmed, but I think I may go out and pick the first book up and see what I think about them.
     
  4. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    undoubtably all the paradise lost allegory will be brutally excised from the tale, leaving it an empty action adventure with a hint of romance tale. Still tom stoppard is adapting it, so anything is possible. I'd like to see a movie of all three made, but done properly, New Line is hoping to prep the trilogy to do it as they did LOTR filming all three at once and releasing one a year each year starting dec 2004, however stoppard hasn't finished the screenplay yet so it's looking to be pushed badck considering the intense amount of effects work necessary. I'm only assuming thy'll shoot htem all at once, they're planning to do the whole trilogy so that would make the most sense and money saving cost as well as allow them to use kids approx the same age as in the books. the rest of this info I garnerd from a monday article in the LA times calender section.

    ADam
     
  5. Jeff Kohn

    Jeff Kohn Supporting Actor

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    If the books make it to the screen largely intact they will indeed cause controversy. Some may have objected to Harry Potter because of the use of terms like witchcraft, etc, but I think overall there wasn't that much to object to. But the His Dark Material books are blatently anti-religion and anti-Christian. And even setting that aside the books aren't very good anyway, IMHO. I would think there are a lot of other fantasy works that would make much better movies.
     
  6. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Not to mention that it will be nearly impossible to find two child actors to pull off the emotion and depth of character of Will and Lyra.
     
  7. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    If anything I think I'd like to see the Madeleine L'Engle "Time" series be filmed. Of course it's been forever since I read them. Perhaps just "A Wrinkle in Time" and "A Wind in the Door." I could do without seeing the last two (never finished "Many Waters" if I remember correctly, and I found "Tilting Planet" incredibly boring my first time through, but maybe it was my age).
    Also, did anyone read the Susan Cooper "The Dark is Rising" series. I remember being thrilled with that, but it's been soooo long since I read it that it could just be nostalgia talking, but I remember being captivated by it. A bit more straight-forward kind of "real-life" fantasy stuff than L'Engle if I remember correctly.
    I'm suddenly getting in the mood to re-read all of these young adult fantasy books from my past [​IMG]
     
  8. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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    The more I hear about His Dark Materials the more interested I am in reading the books and seeing the movies made. If they don't mess around with what I'm hearing are the central themes, it would be a breath of fresh air in this day and age. New Line will be under a lot of pressure from certain factions, and I hope they stand their ground.
     
  9. Steve Kramzer

    Steve Kramzer Stunt Coordinator

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    I believe ABC is doing Madeleine L'Engle "Wrinkle in Time" as a tv-movie and it supposed to be out in 2003.
     
  10. Zenas

    Zenas Agent

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    I think the fantasy series that may make the best movies (or even better, a TV series) is Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. Come to think of it, it most likely WOULD be better as a TV series, so it could run for much longer. Imagine a series of 9 or more movies..... [​IMG]
     
  11. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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    More like a series of 9 six-hour long movies. Ugh . . .
     
  12. Jeff Kohn

    Jeff Kohn Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, I like WoT, though I think the writing has suffered in the last few books. But I don't think there is any way you could possibly make into into a movie or series of movies. There are just way too many concurrent plot-lines. I mean, some of the early Two Towers reviews have lightly criticised the fact that there are three concurrent plotlines to keep up with. Imagine a movie that tried to keep track of 8 or 10 plot lines. :O

    As for some fantasy series I'd like to see as movies/series:

    The Dark Tower (King)
    The Recluce books (Modesitt)
    Otherland (Tad Williams)
    Memory, Sorrow, Thorn (Tad Williams)
    Riftwar Saga (Feist)
     
  13. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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  14. Lowell_B

    Lowell_B Second Unit

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    I'm in the middle of the third book now and while the books are quite good (not great though), I don't have alot of confidence on them being made into movies. For starters:

    The whole anti religion/Christian themes could very well be massively toned down to the point where it would really hurt the movie. If New Line releases a movie that stays true to the book (especially as a children's/teen movie) I would be surprised.

    Also, considering the main characters are two children, I really can't see them getting good child actors to play the parts like Adam said.

    Still I'll be interested in the movies if they ever get made.

    I'll second Stephen King's Dark Tower books as a series that would make absolutely fantastic movies if done right. I hope the series continues on it's upward trend too.

    Lowell
     
  15. Travis Kolesar

    Travis Kolesar Second Unit

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    If they toned down the religious aspects of these books to make the movies, the whole point of the stories would be lost. I just don't see how these could be done well and remain loyal to the print version. Then again, I never expected to see a good LOTR movie ever made either, so anything is possible.


    On a side note, a fantasy series I'd love to see done well would be the original Dragonlance trilogy. Still have yet to see a really good dragon movie.
     
  16. Max Knight

    Max Knight Supporting Actor

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    I love the "His Dark Materials" series. I would be very hesitant about a movie adaption, however. To me these books would be very tough to film, and a lot of the interesting elements (such as the anti-religious stance) would probably not make it to screen.

    I also think that this series has the coolest title ever!
     
  17. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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    Has anyone here read the Death Gate Cycle series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman? I think these would make for a great series of movies. It is a seven book series and the great thing is that while the books are written as a series, they stand alone extremely well which is the reason that I think they would make great films.
     
  18. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    As much as I liked the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, I can't really see how they could make a film of it that would be acceptable to general audiences. It is pretty dark and heavy stuff, and people are bothered enough by the religous overtones. We'll see what Tom Stoppard comes up with.

    Jason
     
  19. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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  20. Guy_K

    Guy_K Second Unit

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    Richard - I read the death gate cycle series. It's really good, and I think it would make a very interesting film series.

    I'm trying to think of a book series I read years back. All I remember about it is that the first book has something to do with a pig, and the hero's friend is named Gwydian. Ring a bell for anyone?
     

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