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Weitz on The Golden Compass

Variety writes:

As "New Moon" soared toward a $258 million opening weekend worldwide, director Chris Weitz was in discussions with Summit Entertainment for his follow-up.

Weitz said he plans to go to work for Summit right away on "The Gardener," with deals in the works for Weitz and Eric Eason ("Manito"), who wrote the screenplay. The picture is about a hard-working immigrant who lives in Los Angeles and his efforts to protect his son.

Weitz said he will begin production in March or April.

"There are no werewolves or vampires, just a Mexican gardener in Los Angeles," Weitz said.

Weitz also dispelled reports that he would stop directing movies after "The Gardener," an assertion that came from an interview he gave to Moviemaker magazine. The retirement angle got picked up by the New York Post's Page Six late last week.

The report inferred that Weitz's exit was based on the rough treatment he got from New Line on "The Golden Compass."

Weitz did not deny that he had a terrible time on that movie, but said he was reinvigorated by "New Moon." He met his goal to broaden the visual scope of the film from the original while keeping it on budget and not overwhelming the appeal of the core love triangle.

Weitz said Summit and author Stephenie Meyer trusted him to honor the books while adding his own stylistic imprint, something that didn't happen on "The Golden Compass." He added that "Golden Compass" was taken away from him and that heavy-handed editing by New Line eliminated 30 minutes of footage and neutered any of the edge evident in the Philip Pullman books.

"It was an utter violation of my status as a director and the worst thing that has happened to me professionally," Weitz said. While he "bit through my tongue" when that film was released out of loyalty to cast and crew, he was very happy to see "New Moon" surpass grosses of "The Golden Compass."

"I was treated badly, it was almost like they never read the books. They seemed frightened of offending the right. This was a wonderful experience by comparison. I got to work with terrific young actors at the top of their game, and see Taylor Lautner perform so well."

His mind seemed squarely on his directing future and on Depth of Field, the company he runs with brother Paul, who's off directing "Little Fockers." Depth of Field's Tom Ford-directed "A Single Man" has Oscar hopes.

Weitz said he's learning to be careful about swearing off movies in interviews when he's drained from finishing one.

Comments (10) — Add Yours

I knew it

# Posted by Sayuri on 0:26, 6 December 2009

Sayuri's avatar

“bit through my tongue” -
This is exactly the impression I got in his former interviews, concerning the changes of TGC.

# Posted by Pantalaimon221 on 10:39, 10 December 2009

Don’t you find it weird that the same New Line that gave us the Lord of the Ring perfect trilogy simply ruined tGC? I hate this, is so unkind…I wish things went different.

# Posted by Lyrael on 18:39, 21 December 2009

Lyrael's avatar

It’s because of the church, and I’m pretty sure that most of the New Line Bosses are probably christian.

# Posted by Sayuri on 20:36, 3 January 2010

Sayuri's avatar

To be honest The Lord of the Rings trilogy wasn’t as faithfull to the books as you might love them to be. Nevertheless They were much better translated into movies than tGC was. I hate the way religion mess up things. Philip Pullmans trilogy wasn’t even anti religious as such..

# Posted by Kausiki on 14:10, 17 January 2010

Ya, I know what you mean about them not being as honest to the books with Lord Of The Rings- when Arwen gets Frodo in first film, it’s different to the book, Arwen doesn’t get him in the book. Glorfindel helps them (I think) and the flood was commanded by Elrond

# Posted by Sayuri on 20:24, 19 January 2010

Sayuri's avatar

That explains a lot.. I wish New Line had left it alone, I bet the ending was part of the 30min taken off. I feel bad for Weitz and at the same time not…

# Posted by ArG on 20:15, 3 August 2010

ArG's avatar

TGC great movie and great story! Despite the hardship and the film being sabotaged, Weitz is the man for the job. Don’t stop because of New Line or the Church. Stand up and make the SEQUELS! After all he can’t deny the success of the film internationally. Honour Philip Pullman, the books you know deserve to be seen on the big screen and the FANS!

# Posted by mattn3ss on 3:04, 30 August 2010

To be honest The Lord of the Rings trilogy wasn’t as faithful to the books as you might love them to be. Nevertheless They were much better translated into movies than tGC was. I hate the way religion mess up things. Philip Pullmans trilogy wasn’t even anti religious as such..


Are you serious? TLoTR Trilogy was NO WHERE NEAR what the books were. It was two completely different stores, they removed MAJOR Characters, changed MAJOR PLOTS, I mean how can you remove Tom Bombadil, he was one of the most important characters in the Lord of the Rings, He removed the Barrow-wight, he removed the ending to The return of the King where Sam returns and his whole village is enslaved by Wormtongue, he removed so MUCH OF THE BOOK, ENTIRE PLOTS, he could have removed the hours of walking through the woods, and included serious plot lines and serious characters. Im not saying I didnt love the movies, im saying that it was in no way a small difference.

In The Golden Compass, its not even the same book / movie. Its a different work. They toned down so much, changed so much, the movie has no right to even carry the same name, infact in the beginning they should have stated, “This movie is based on EVENTS portrayed in the novel The Golden Compass”

# Posted by MyDarkestHour on 5:52, 20 December 2010

the only thing New Line ever did right was the original Nightmare on Elm Street series in the 80’s / early 90’s, and it went to **** from there.

# Posted by MyDarkestHour on 5:56, 20 December 2010


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