Last night The Golden Compass fans had the opportunity to chat live with Dakota Blue Richards, who stars as Lyra in The Golden Compass movie. The chat was held by publisher Scholastic USA. The chatroom was filled with fans, and many of HisDarkMaterials.org members were spotted at the scene.
The fans asked questions about the The Golden Compass, being Lyra, doing stunts and working with famous actors and more general questions about her hobbies, favourite music, movies and food. Dakota also talked about what it's like being famous, combining acting with a normal life, and her future.
Thanks to Connor B. for providing this transcript.
Dakota Blue Richards Chat Transcript
December 19th 2007, 11:30 PM GMT
Moderator: In the movie The Golden Compass, Lyra tells Roger that she is no lady. In
real life, are you more of a lady or more of a tomboy?
Dakota Blue Richards: Um, I think I'm more of a lady than tomboy. I don't think I'm really much of either.
Presubmitted Question: yazmina G., 14 from CA asks: The scene of the guillotine
that they try to separate Lyra and Pan,it was emotionally hard to make it for you?
Dakota Blue Richards: No, not really. I think the more the emotion there is in the scene the more fun it is. It is sometimes hard, but genuinely I found it just as hard as do something else I had to do.
Connor: What was your relationship with the director and the rest of the crew like?
Dakota Blue Richards: I got along with everybody. I think the director is very calm and a way of making everyone else very calm. If there's a tight situation and you have to get a lot done, he's really great.
Dakota Blue Richards: I got along with everybody on the set!
TeeBee: Was there a lot of joking on the set, did anyone do any pranks? Were you a
Dakota Blue Richards: I wouldn't say "pranks" but we had a snowball fight and stuff like that, but sometimes we just sit around laughing. But there weren't really pranks exactly because it could be dangerous, and we didn't want anything like that going on.
Dani: What scene did you enjoy the most filming?
Dakota Blue Richards: I really enjoyed shooting all the scenes with action and stuff from the very beginning of the movie with Billy and Roger, because there was a lot of kids. It was quite nice to have them around.
Rubyducky: Since the daemons and the ice bears were computer generated, how
difficult was it to act during those scenes?
Dakota Blue Richards: It was the most difficult thing we had to do!
Dakota Blue Richards: I'd never done anything like it. It was quite a shock to me, having to do so much of it.
Dakota Blue Richards: But I think after awhile you kind of get used to it.
TeeBee: If you could really ride a tame bear, would you?
Dakota Blue Richards: Probably, yeah! It depends where I was riding it to... When I watched the bits where I was riding it, I was thinking 00 wow! that would be really cool to actually do! -- I think that would be a bit scary though.
Connor: When you found out you got the part of Lyra in the film, how did you feel?
Dakota Blue Richards: It was the most exciting feeling ever! I had no idea what I should do so i just jumped up and down and screamed and danced!
Dakota Blue Richards: It was like nothing I had ever felt before.
Dani: In the scene where Mr. Coulter get mad at Lyra, was it kind of scary having
Nicole Kidman screaming at you?
Dakota Blue Richards: It kind was SOMETIMES, not because she was actually screaming at me, but because that's her direction, and she would suddenly become that woman that would be terrible. It was a bit of a shock the first couple of times (shooting the scene) but after awhile it was okay.
molvania: Did you meet any of the actors who voiced daemons?
Dakota Blue Richards: I met Freddy [who was Pan] and we had to act together and stuff like that, but I haven't met anyone else. Or even the voices of the bears! I spoke briefly on the phone to Ian McKellan at the party at the New York premiere.
Presubmitted Question: Nancy T., 13 from CA asks: did you do any of the stunts
Dakota Blue Richards: It's hard to say for me how many of the stunts were ME because there was a stunt double, so there was lot she did. But I did quite a bit of fighting and I got to say that Lyra should do a bit more fighting than she did in the original script.
Dakota Blue Richards: In the original she kind of just stands around!
Dakota Blue Richards: The bits I KNOW they were me are the bits where I was struggling with people, and I think you can see me in the movie hitting somebody on the head with the gun!
Blue Richards: But other than that, it's hard to say because in the movie you see it from behind or from far away, so it could be the stunt double.
molvania: What was it like dealing with all the pubicity?
Dakota Blue Richards: It was strange, because it's unlike anything I've ever done before. I have been doing it for quite awhile now, so I'm beginning to get used to it. I'm getting used to going around and doing junkets and stuff like that.
Carlena.: Do you have any advice for aspiring actors?
Dakota Blue Richards: I would say basically, if you keep trying, you'll build your confidence and abilities. Go to auditions... it's a lot of hard work and you have to be prepared for that.
Dakota Blue Richards: It was quite a shock when I first started. But you just have to fun and be yourself, and learn to laugh and have fun and enjoy everything.
Dani: What is your favorite book of the trilogy?
Dakota Blue Richards: I think my favorite one is the third one, I think the first one's good but I think they get better as they go along... the story gets a bit deeper and because there's more of the world and characters in it.
Dakota Blue Richards: Hopefully they'll make the second and third one, because it'd be really fun to shoot!
Presubmitted Question: Noa S., 11 from CA asks: If you could choose one of the
book characters in The Golden Compass, which would you like to meet?
Dakota Blue Richards: I think I would like Serafina Pekkala -- the witch, because... first off, she's a witch! which is cool. and I think she's a particularly nice character, she's caring, and would be a nice person to meet.
Dakota Blue Richards: There are other characters I would like to meet as well, but if I had to choose one, it'd be her.
Toggle: What is your favorite film (apart from the golden compass)?
Dakota Blue Richards: my favorite film would be... Howl's Moving Castle. It's a Miyazaki film, a Japanese film, I really like those kinds of films and that one is my favorite.
Gylfie: What is your favorite food? (random, I know)
Dakota Blue Richards: I like pasta with butter and cheese, I'm a person that doesn't do a lot of flavours. I'm vegetarian, so I don't eat meat or fish or anything. I like steamed vegetables. and chocolate!
molvania: Where is your favorite place in the world?
Dakota Blue Richards: I have a lot of favorite places, but I think home is my favorite place... home, my friends house. I like other countries and stuff, but I think I have more fun when I'm at home.
Dakota Blue Richards: We were just in New York and I really liked it there, especially Central Park was beautiful.
TeeBee: Do you get a lot of fan mail?
Dakota Blue Richards: No, not really! I got a couple of letters while I was in Japan but I haven't really gotten a lot of fan mail.
Dakota Blue Richards: I'm not recognized very often, it's probably a good thing. :) I think I like it this way, if people stopped me on the street I think it might be a bit scary.
Lord Asriel is God: Who was your favourite actor/actress to work with?
Dakota Blue Richards: I think Eva (Green) because she's a really, really great actress and very professional and a nice person and I really admire her.
Presubmitted Question: Co R., 16 from AL asks: Would you like to live in Lyra's
Dakota Blue Richards: I think I would! But not forever... I would like to visit it. Partly because, well, there's a lot of bad things going on there!
Dakota Blue Richards: Gobblers would scare me as well as having Mrs. Coulter around. And I think being at home in our world would be more comfortable than going into another world.
Presubmitted Question: Metin E., 12 from MA asks: Do you think Lyra admires Ms.
Coulter? If so why?
Dakota Blue Richards: I think when she first meets her she does, because she's so glamorous and receives a lot of attention and acts like a really nice person. Dakota Blue Richards: But as she finds out more about Ms. Coulter she doesn't admire her as much. And because Ms Coulter is so mean to her, Lyra loses her respect for her.
Dani: What was it like to see yourself (the first time you saw the movie) in the big
Dakota Blue Richards: It was scary! I was just getting used to being on the red carpet as well. To myself it's weird and scary and fun at the same time. But I enjoyed it and it was really fun, but also kind of strange at the same time, since I'd never done that before.
Dakota Blue Richards: I think the most I'd ever watched myself before was when I was in home videos singing along to Barbie and stuff like that!
Ben-TM: Do you think you would do all these things which Lyra did if you really were
Dakota Blue Richards: If I was really Lyra, yes, of course I would! But If I were ME though, I don't think I would have done as much as Lyra did. Things like the ice bears and stuff... I'd wait for the others. But some things I would do, like talking to Iorek.
Gylfie: Would you like to own a golden compass? (alethiometer, that is)
Dakota Blue Richards: I kind of do! They gave me one as a leaving present, and of course it doesn't work. but if I did have one that works, I might be too scared to use it... but it would be pretty cool, so yeah!
TeeBee: Do you plan to continue acting?
Dakota Blue Richards: I would like to, I don't want to do it full time because it would be incredibly lonely to do it for a long time and never be in a place long enough to build relationships with people.
Dakota Blue Richards: You'd never being home long enough to be with your friends and family from before. And I think would be tiring! I've had great fun though, so I think if I would if it were part-time. In the future I would like to be a substitute teacher.
DarkRidley: Do you like music? If so, who is your favourite band/singer?
Dakota Blue Richards: Yeah, I do like music! I'll listen to anybody pretty much, but some of my favoites are Kate Nash, Plain White Ts, Artic Monkeys, Gym Class Heroes, Holsieres...
Connor: What are your hobbies?
Dakota Blue Richards: I don't really have time to have hobbies, there isn't one particular thing I do, it really depends on how I feel that day. Dakota Blue Richards: I'll go swimming, sports at school, play with my friends, hang out at the park, stuff like that.
Toggle: What is your favorite book, excluding the his dark materials trilogy?
Dakota Blue Richards: I have a lot of favorite books, I think one of them is Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve... and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, but I haven't finished it.
Dakota Blue Richards: But I like a lot of books I can't remember right now. I was never a big reader until a few years ago so those are a few of the first I've really enjoyed – since them I've really enjoyed quite a few books!
TeeBee: I noticed in some trailers there are scenes that didn't make it into the movie. Is there any scene you were in that you wished made it to the screen?
Dakota Blue Richards: There are a couple of bits that I did think were quite good, there was a bit where they had some of the spies come back... that was a scene that showed Lyra could really do some damage there.
Dakota Blue Richards: I can understand why they cut it out some of the scenes they cut out, what they changed in the ending and stuff like that, and I think it works.
Carlena.: How did your friends react to you getting the role of Lyra?
Dakota Blue Richards: I remember one of my friends had been hearing about the audition process and after I went, I asked her "Guess what?" and she already knew I got the part!
Dakota Blue Richards: I remember that really overjoyed me, not only to get the part but also know that my friends were really happy for me.
molvania: What happened to your schooling during the shooting?
Dakota Blue Richards: I have a two tutors on set, who were doing lessons just like I would do at school. That was a bit strange, because I'd always done schooling in the classroom.
Dakota Blue Richards: When you're at school you can mess around, but when it's just you and they're constantly paying attention to you, you always have to pay attention to them!
GermanFan: Have you a favourite lesson/school subject in the school?
Dakota Blue Richards: Math! Math is my favorite lesson, just because once you get it, you always understand it, and I like that.
Gylfie: Did you get to meet Philip Pullman?
Dakota Blue Richards: Yes I did! He was on set quite a lot, so whenever he was around I talked to him. He sent me quite a few letters and we just bought him a Christmas present. :) We went to FAO Schwarz and it's like this little mini-microbes toy or something like that. It was quite funny. So don't tell him what we got him!
sarahfurelise: How does it feel to see yourself on billboards on posters around the
Dakota Blue Richards: It's a fun feeling... I remember the first time I saw one I was really excited, it's funny when you think about how many people pass by one every day!
Dakota Blue Richards: Like, how many people know who I am, before I've even met them! It's strange, but quite cool.
TeeBee: How much did your look have to change to become Lyra? Like wear your hair
different, or coloring, was there make up you'd have to wear that you normally wouldn't?
Do you like Lyra's look?
Dakota Blue Richards: They colored my hair, like every day! But other than that, they didn't do much. I didn't have a lot of make-up on. I think they put on more blond in my hair, because having curls makes it look darker than it is.
Dakota Blue Richards: I do like Lyra's look – I think she's a lot cleaner in the film than in the book.
Dakota Blue Richards: I think in the book she's a lot more wild and savage looking and stuff. I think the way she looks it reflects her personality, like she doesn't really care about her appearance and what people think of her.
molvania: Who are some of the actors you admire?
Dakota Blue Richards: I like Johnny Depp, I think he's a really good actor!
Moderator: Time's almost up, so we're only going to be asking a couple more questions.
Gylfie: What is an average acting day like?
[connection was disconnected at this point]
sarahfurelise: Hello Dakota and Happy Holidays! I just wanted to say that you were
brilliant as Lyra, absolutely wonderful and I loved the movie. I do have a question, how
did you prepare for the very tense scenes, like when you and Pan were almost separated?
Scholastic Admin: Unfortunately, we're out of time. Dakota, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us today. Is there anything you'd like to add before we go? Dakota Blue Richards: It's been lovely to chat like this with other normal kids and that you like the film and take your whole family to see it!
Scholastic Admin: Thanks, everyone, for joining our chat with Dakota Blue Richards. A
transcript will be available online soon, and we'll include an address where you can send
your fan mail to Dakota.
Scholastic Admin: And visit www.scholastic.com/goldencompass to enter for a chance to win an iPod nano!