PREVIEW: Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig in ‘The Golden Compass’

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New Line Cinema is taking the plunge into fantasy territory with its newest fantasy epic The Golden Compass, due in theaters at the end of the year and starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Already drawing comparisons to the other New Line behemoth – The Lord of the Rings trilogy – The Golden Compass trailer was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival with much hoopla. The Golden Compass is also part of a trilogy called His Dark Materials in which New Line plans to roll out in the same way as it did with the LOTR trilogy.

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The story, based on the Phillip Pullman novels delves into a parallel universe where a 12 year-old girl called Lyra enters a mysterious land in the Far North to save her best friend and gets possession of a particle that prophesizes to unite whole universes. Pretty heady stuff for a 12 year-old but it’s a fantasy journey that both children and adults will obviously partake in. The closest cousin of this type of film is The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where children enter a universe who fate lie in their hands.

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The Golden Compass also stars Eva Green, Dakota Blue Richards and Sam Elliot and is directed by Chris Weitz (who left the project mid-shoot and then returned).  Famed playwright Tom Stoppard wrote the script which had Sam Mendes attached as director at one point. New Line has plowed a $150 million budget into The Golden Compass, ostensibly looking for a hit after some last few fallow years since the last LOTR film.  


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