Tag: the golden compass

A Look Back At The Forgotten Adaptation ‘The Golden Compass’

This Sunday, His Dark Materials will premiere on HBO. Starring James McAvoy (Dark Phoenix), Dafne Keen (Logan), Ruth Wilson (The Affair), and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Mary Poppins Returns), the series is an adaptation of the fantasy series of the same name by Phillip Pullman that follows two children on their adventures through various parallel universes. But this isn’t the first adaptation of Pullman’s work.

 

Image result for his dark materials hbo

Image Via San Jose Public Library

 

In 2007, New Line Cinema released The Golden Compass, based on the first book in the series, originally titled Northern Lights. It follows a young girl named Lyra who travels across a parallel universe in order to save children from a secret organization under control from a powerful church. With big names like Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig starring in the film, a budget of $180 million, and coming from the same studio that made The Lord of the Rings, it looked like The Golden Compass could be the next big fantasy epic.

 

Image result for the golden compass

Image Via Steampunk Wiki

 

Unfortunately, the film failed to catch on with critics and audiences. Reviews for the film were mixed, praising the visuals but criticizing the story. The film also didn’t make as much money as the studio hoped, with some believing that it was the reason New Line merged with Warner Bros. Quickly forgotten by the public, plans for a film trilogy were scrapped. So what went wrong?

 

It all came down to studio interference. His Dark Materials was already known for controversy from religious groups for its anti-religious undertones. New Line intervened, with executives ordering the darker elements and atheist themes to be removed and the story to be significantly changed. The director of the film confirmed that New Line interfered so much and ruined the whole experience.

 

 

Thankfully, it looks like the television adaptation will fare much better. Positive reviews point to a more faithful adaptation that successfully balances fantasy elements with complex themes.

 

Are you watching His Dark Materials?

 

 

Featured Image Via Vox

 

Philip Pullman’s ‘La Belle Sauvage’ Gets Stage Adaptation!

Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage is getting a stage adaptation!

 

La Belle Sauvage
Image Via Amazon
 

The first volume of planned trilogy entitled The Book of Dust to his previous trilogy His Dark Materials, an infamous trilogy made up of The Golden Compass (known as Northern Lights in its home country of the UK), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, La Belle Sauvage is a fantasy novel that is set twelve years before this trilogy.

Published in 2017  by David Fickling Books in the UK and by Alfred A. Knopf in the US, this first volume in a planned trilogy covers the story of the event leading up Lyra Belacqua’s arrival as a six-month-old baby at Jordan College, Oxford.

 

Philip Pullman
Image Via Irish Times
 

The book received positive reviews, with The Guardian noting that La Belle Sauvage recalled children’s classic like C.S Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, Lucy M Boston’s Green Knowe, and the ancient Welsh tales of The Mabinogion, raving that “[o]ne other way in which La Belle Sauvage recalls those children’s classics is the sheer beauty of the book itself. David Fickling Books should be praised for the faith it’s shown in producing something both lavish and readable.”

The Washington Post said of the trilogy, “Too few things in our own world are worth a seventeen-year-wait: ‘The Book of Dust’ is one of them”.

 

HBO is making an adaptation of 'His Dark Materials' too!
Image Via Town & Country Magazine
 

Since The Golden Compass is getting an adaptation in the form of an HBO prequel show, it seems fitting that the prequel should also get an adaptation.

Before going on, let’s note that Pullman himself said the second volume in his new trilogy, the The Secret Commonwealth, is fast forward to roughly ten years after His Dark Materials ended and will follow Lyra as an adult. No dangling plot threads in this story!

That story is set to be published in October.

Back to the stage adaptation!

 

 

Given that Nicholas Wright’s stage adaptation of the His Dark Material triology was adapted into a two-part production that managed to nab  Timothy Dalton, Patricia Hodge, Ben Whishaw, and Dominic Cooper, this new adaptation should

Nicholas Hytner
Image Via The Telegraph
 

The stage adaptation is set for in autumn 2020 premiere at London’s Bridge theatre. The Guardian reports that Nicholas Hytner, whose had extensively work in the theatre stretching back to 1978, will direct the show.

 

Bryony Lavery
Image Via The Stage
 

The adaptation will be written by Bryony Lavery, who notably got a Tony Award nomination for Best Play for her 1998 play Frozen, which was about the disappearance of a ten-year-old girl.

 

Illustration from 'Le Belle Sauvage'
Image Via Medium
 

Hytner is no stranger to Pullman stage adaptation. Back in 2003, His Dark Materials was adapted into a two part production. Written by playwright Nicholas Wright, the original production, which premiered at the National Theatre in London in 2003, managed to nab stars such as Timothy Dalton, Patricia Hodge, Ben Whishaw and Dominic Cooper!

Who do you think they’ll get for this adaptation?

 

 

Featured Image Via The Verge 

His Dark Materials BBC promo image

First Look at HBO’s ‘His Dark Materials’ Trailer

HBO’s long-running, hit series Game of Thrones has officially come to an end, but that doesn’t mean HBO is short of material. They have plenty on the deck ready to go, and one major project is the adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy.

There are three installments in Pullman’s series: The Golden CompassThe Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. Each book features the adventures of Lyra (who will be played by Dafne Keen) and Will, two seemingly ordinary kids who find themselves on a thrilling journey through a world of fantasy. It’s no wonder HBO wants to stick with the fantasy genre, it did work out pretty well with Game of Thrones. And who are we kidding? The trailer is absolutely stunning!

 

 

The show appears to be jam packed with adventure, giant bears, magic, and so much more! What isn’t to love? From the trailer it is easy to ascertain that the first season will be adapted from the first book in the trilogy, but it will be interesting to see where the series goes from there. Originally premiering on BBC, an announcement with the season two renewal revealed the signing of HBO as a co-producer for the series.

They have not given a specific date for when we can expect the premiere, but the trailer promises it will be coming soon.

Featured image via youtube

Arthur Levine, Who Brought Harry Potter to the US, to Set Up Indie Publisher

Say it ain’t so! Arthur Levine, of Harry Potter and His Dark Materials fame, is leaving Scholastic? Arthur A. Levine, the man who brought Harry Potter to the US of A, an early champion of Phillip Pullman’s fantastic first His Dark Material novel The Golden Compass, the dude who Benzinga claims has an imprint backlist “which has produced more than three hundred works of hardcover literary fiction, picture books, and nonfiction for children and teenagers”, my main man, is now leaving Scholastic.

 

Cring

 

But he told Publishers Weekly this:

 

“I’ve had a wonderful run at Scholastic and will greatly miss working here. There are such strengths and so many gifted individuals. But I’m excited to found a company led by a mission to make books reflecting the greatest diversity and the highest standards of artistic excellence.”

 

I already hear you asking – what’s the name of this new company? We don’t know – it’s unannounced.

 

As for your second question – the goal of this new company? – the answer is…

 

Man with his fingers crossed, being unable to look but hoping just the same
Image Via Musicindustryhowto

 

They plan to give a voice to a wide range of new authors, putting focus on having “a mix of 75% minority creators, including people of color, indigenous people, and LGBTQ individuals”.

So there is hope. A lot of it actually!

So while J. K. Rowling goes off and makes three more Fantastic Beasts movies, Arthur Levine, the man who brought Harry Potter to the US of A, my main dude, is now dedicating his time in helping minority authors get their voice heard by the public.

 

Arthur Levine, with a good book, looking at the camera with a killer smile
Image Via Publishers Weekly

 

Do great things, Arthur.

 

 

Featured Image Via northcountrypublicradio.org

New Trailer for BBC’s ‘His Dark Materials’ Drops, and I’m Excited

Philip Pullman’s astounding His Dark Materials trilogy suffered a serious blow when, in 2007, it was the victim of what was one of the worst book-to-film adaptations in history, in my opinion. I have previously written about my (very strong) feelings regarding a number of disastrous Hollywood adaptations of children’s books, but I truly feel that Chris Weitz’s The Golden Compass wins the Oscar for Worst Adaptation, Really Terrible, or as I like to call it when awarding the recipients in my head: W.A.R.T. Because I feel that I expressed my needlessly intense feelings adequately the last time I wrote about this, here is a quote from my original article on children’s adaptations that have personally offended me:

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is arguably one of the most intricate, marvelous, and thought-provoking series in the history of fiction. It deals with vast concepts using incredible characters, and is set against the backdrop of a meticulously constructed world. The film, however, is more along the lines of ‘haha look at this talking polar bear.’  A hideously miscast monstrosity, The Golden Compass dumbed down and abbreviated this text almost beyond recognition, no doubt deterring a great number of potential readers from the books. I will never forgive anyone who was involved in its making and will be angry about it forever.

Frankly, I don’t care if you think I’m being dramatic; my rage at Weitz’s film will never be soothed. However, when it was announced that the BBC would be taking a whack at adapting the trilogy, I was a little more hopeful. A television series gives a story space to breathe, it gives concepts room to be explored, which is exactly what a plot as complex as Pullman’s requires if it is to stand any chance at translating well to screen.

A teaser trailer for the upcoming series, (starring Lin Manuel Miranda, James McAvoy, Dafne Keen and Ruth Wilson) has just been released, and I must say, it looks promising. While the 2007 version relied heavily on CGI, the novelty of a talking bear, (who is a very serious character, actually) and the dumbing down of the plot in an attempt to fit it into two hours, this version seems less preoccupied with rendering the text digestible, and more devoted to the unsettling, genuinely frightening, and intriguing energy of the book. In addition to this, Dafne Keen seems well-equipped to carry off the role of Lyra, having won Best Female Newcomer at this year’s Empire Awards for her role as Laura opposite Hugh Jackman in Logan. Keen and Jackman also won Best Duo at the MTV Movie & TV Awards and over the last two years, she has accumulated eight additional nominations for her roles in Logan and The Refugees. So in short, despite my unnecessarily strong feelings about the first adaptation, I am more than willing to be optimistic about BBC’s take on it.

Check out the trailer below and see if you can obsess as hard as I can!

 

 

Featured Image Via IGN.com