I think it’s time to do something a little different this week. There has been a wonderful influx of news, but sadly, due to some issues with my Internet connection and therefore a distinct lack email-inbox-checking (and therefore any juicy bits of news!), I have decided to think on my feet. And so here we go! Just before my computer decided to stop playing ball, I received an interesting email:
Dear Time, how did you first come to read the books? Your profile page says that you consider watching films your greatest hobby, so I was just wondering how it came about that you found out about the books.
Well, actually, I spent a long time thinking about this one. Embarrassingly enough, I had these books sitting on my shelf for nearly ten years before I picked them up. I remember that I was given the first one… it must have been when it came out, by a doting aunt that thought I’d like it for Christmas (when I really wanted Toy Story!).
I admit that I had never read them, or even thought of reading them, for a long time. I found out, on New Line Cinema’s own web-letter, that there was a series of films dubbed The Golden Compass in the pipeline, which would normally be ignored; I tend not to take any news seriously until I am given anything from any of my other sources. But this time, something made me look a bit harder. I saw the name Philip Pullman, and the word author, and a little lightbulb came on.
I remembered the Lord of the Rings trilogy and how amazing those films were, and suddenly I was very interested indeed. So I clicked my way onto Wikipedia, and lo and behold, I find that The Golden Compass is Northern Lights! The book I had never even read! So, that evening, I picked up the book and I started to read through it, and the more I read, the more excited I became about these films. They have such a great deal of potential, they really do, and so I kept a sharp eye out for any other information. When I found out what the potential budget for the films were (after a huge amount of trawling), things just seemed to get better and better. The books were excellent, and it seemed New Line felt the same and were confident enough to give the first, the trial, a decent budget to get the series off the ground. It was more than the Fellowship of the Ring budget, a benchmark I have in my own head as to the bar between “We think this is going to SELL LIKE HOT CAKES” and “We think this film will be okay”. And I agree. I think they’ve got it right, and I think that these films really will do justice to the books.