A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a friend in the business. “New Line are making another film! Want to check it out?”. Well, I’d finished my other commitments for the day, and I had nothing much to do aside from think a little about what would be coming next and what I’d need to put in my next columns, so I clicked the link. His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass? That immediately struck me as an odd name. Reserved for either a children’s film, or-
And there it was: The film.
Those two little words at the end of the title. I let out a sigh, and read on. So New Line are starting work on a new trilogy, based upon a fantasy book? Well, who would have thought! With all the money they made from their past fantasy flicks, it seems clear that they can milk that cow far more than they already have. Philip Pullman? Where did I hear that name before… Come to think of it, I remembered His Dark Materials as well.
I followed a few more links from page to page, gaining more and more information on what was fast-looking to be a sure-fire flop; then it hit me. I’d bought those books. I’d read them. They were good enough, in their own right- the plot was far-fetched at best and some of the story seemed a little bare in places, but they weren’t bad books. In fact, I’d go as far as a reasonable read. Definitely something to read before sleeping.
So I kept on reading. Daniel Craig. Eva Green. Dakota Blue Richards. They were all well-known and respected members of the acting community- wait a second. A completely fresh face for the main protagonist? Someone with absolutely NO acting experience and, more importantly, no paparazzi experience!? New Line were definitely going out on a limb with her. I even felt sorry for her. But I kept an open mind, regardless of the images of another Casino Royal re-hash in my head, with maybe a few potions thrown in from Harry Potter and some reaction shots from Gandalf. It would work. How could it not? This is one of the richest companies in cinematic theatre today. Of course it would work. On the day of opening, I can guarantee, even now, that "New Line To Succeed Again With Billion-Dollar Profits" will be on every half-decent front page in the Western world.
But will those expectations be fulfilled? At the moment things are looking shaky at best...