Weitz on the Challenge of Golden Compass

Writer-director Chris Weitz, better known for comedies and intimate films (“About a Boy”), has never handled a film project of the magnitude of the big-budget tentpole “Golden Compass,” a special-effects epic that New Line will release December 7, 2007.

Long Voyage

For Lyra, the child at the center of The Golden Compass, the journey begins in the relative safety of her Oxford home and takes her to the edge of the world. My voyage with this story began in London seven years ago, when a friend suggested I read Philip Pullmans books while I was in the relative safety of directing a movie called About a Boy.

Stunned by the Imagination

I knew immediately that I wanted to translate these books to film. I was absolutely stunned by the imagination, daring and intelligence of the books. Pullmans insights range from the everyday to the metaphysical, and his great trilogy is a testament to nothing less than the freedom and potential of the human soul. The Golden Compass, the first book of the series, offers everything a filmmaker could want – a compelling story, fascinating characters, psychological and philosophical depth, and an abiding wonder at its heart. For me, there could be no better challenge to turn my hand to over the intervening years.

Debt to Author Pullman

It takes a great deal of fortitude to watch someone adapt your work to another medium, and I am indebted to Mr. Pullman for trusting me with one of the twentieth centurys greatest works of the imagination, and for being a consistent source of advice and support.

Labor of Love

I will always be grateful to New Line for giving me the opportunity to make the Golden Compass, for displaying trust in me throughout its long gestation, and for helping to put together an extraordinary cast and crew. Im just one of the many people working on the film who have been inspired by these books, and I have been consistently amazed by their dedication, and the effort and creativity they have brought to it. For all of us living with the sheer size and scope of this film, which has consumed our days and occasionally our nights, it has been a labor of love.