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The Golden Compass (2007) Poster

Trivia

Originally, Adam Godley was hired to voice Pantalaimon, but he was replaced by Freddie Highmore.
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Director Chris Weitz said this ended up being a 'terrible experience' for him, since the complete movie was recut by the studio - New Line Cinema.
Lord Asriel is played by Daniel Craig, who is also the current James Bond. The part was previously played, in a London stage adaptation, by Timothy Dalton, himself a former Bond.
First movie to gross over $300 million worldwide, while failing to reach $100 million in the U.S. Although a U.S. box office failure, only grossing $70,107,728, the movie captured $302,127,136 at the foreign box office. The total box office for the movie is $372,234,864.
Some scenes were shot in Norway, in places such as Bergen and Svalbard, but none of the actors were allowed to perform there, as the producers couldn't find an insurance company that would allow crew members to walk around with shotguns and because the actors could fall ill due to the extreme temperatures.
Ten thousand girls turned up for open auditions in Cambridge, Oxford, Exeter and Kendal for the role of Lyra Belacqua. In June 2006, twelve-year-old London schoolgirl Dakota Blue Richards won the part meeting the approval of Philip Pullman, the author of the novel.
Filming took 100 days. Dakota Blue Richards was in every scene of the film aside from two which required her to shoot for 98 out of the 100 days.
The scene where Marisa Coulter hits her monkey was not in the books, but was written by the books' author Philip Pullman.
In December 2004, Chris Weitz resigned from directing the film, claiming he was daunted by the technical challenges of the story. In August 2005 Anand Tucker was hired to replace Weitz, with the 24-carat approval of Philip Pullman himself. Tucker felt that the film would have as its central theme "Lyra's search for self-discovery and for a family." In May 2006, however, he resigned, citing creative disagreements with New Line Cinema, and Weitz returned to direct.
Philip Pullman, the author of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, had originally wanted Jason Isaacs to play Lord Asriel, Nicole Kidman to play Mrs. Coulter and Samuel L. Jackson to play Lee Scoresby. But as the author has no role in casting, in the event only Kidman made it into the film.
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Nonso Anozie was replaced by Ian McKellen as the voice of Iorek Byrnison. The director, Chris Weitz stated in an interview with 'Empire magazine': "It was a studio decision...You can understand why you would cast Ian McKellen for anything, but letting go of Nonso was one of the most painful experiences on this movie for me. I need to say about Nonso that he is one of the most promising and soulful young actors I have encountered in England and I've worked here for quite a bit now and he's actually in the next Mike Leigh...But it was, uh, that was kind of a dark day for me. I kinda wanna go out of my way to point out how much I love Nonso's work. And that's that".
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Despite a prominent billing, Christopher Lee' only has one line.
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According to Deborah Forte, she and Philip Pullman discussed Nicole Kidman for the role of Marisa Coulter 10 years before the movie went into production in 2006.
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Nicole Kidman originally turned the role as Marisa Coulter down, but Philip Pullman (the author of the 'His Dark Materials') convinced her to take the role.
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Sam Elliott hadn't read any of the 'His Dark Materials' books, before he was asked to take the role as Lee Scoresby. He chose to first read the books by Philip Pullman, and then to read the film's script.
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The name "Serafina Pekkala" originated when Philip Pullman browsed through a Finnish telephone directory.
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Daniel Craig was a fan of the books before he was involved with the movie, as was Dakota Blue Richards who has read the books and saw the National Theatre stage play.
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Director Chris Weitz has himself adapted Philip Pullman's work, citing the film and its sequels to be influenced by Barry Lyndon (1975) and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). He also mentioned that the film would make no direct mention of religion or God, two of the key themes of the books - a decision attacked by fans of the trilogy. According to Weitz, New Line Cinema feared that "perceived anti-religiosity" would make the film financially unviable in the USA. However, Weitz reassured fans by saying that religion would appear in euphemistic terms.
WILHELM SCREAM: The famous scream is heard when a witch is hit and falls during the battle near the experimental station.
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Both Christopher Lee and Ian McKellen were cast at the insistence of New Line Cinema executives, who hoped to replicate the studio's success with the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
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Daniel Craig did most of his own stunts especially in the Swiss glaciers.
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The snake that Edward de Souza holds is real. It was defanged.
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Ridley Scott was the first person to be offered the job of directing the film, and the first to turn it down.
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In December 2007, Nicole Kidman hosted a special screening of this film, for the ill children at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick.
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Since Iorek, the armored bear, is computer generated, all actress Dakota Blue Richards had to interact with was a large, oval-shaped piece of fur without a head, legs or the rest of its body. When Richards spoke her lines, Iorek's reply could be heard coming from speakers somewhere on set.
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There were roughly 600 costumes created for the film, all from scratch.
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The 'real world' night scene Oxford that opens the film included a digitally added skyscraper that doesn't exist in the 'real' Oxford. The scene morphs to the 'alternate world' Oxford which is, in fact, the actual current Oxford street scene.
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All the scenes shot in Oxford were filmed at night using artificial light, because the local council did not permit the director to shoot during the daytime.
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Ozymandias the golden monkey was the hardest daemon to make, because he had to move and jump around all the time.
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Paul Bettany was in negotiations to play Lord Asriel.
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Sam Elliott proclaimed that this was by far the most exciting CGI film he has been involved in.
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Chuck Norris publicly condemned the movie as anti-Christian.
A ten-minute preview of the film was shown to audiences at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
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Dakota Blue Richards' mother (Mickey Richards) made a cameo appearance as a diner in the scene at the restaurant with Nicole Kidman.
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Dakota Blue Richards's first feature movie.
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Although beautiful, it was extremely dangerous on the snowy glaciers which reflected a blinding sunlight, prohibiting the cast from flying out of location.
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The series title His Dark Materials comes from a line in Paradise Lost by John Milton. This is a favourite literary work of Philip Pullman who has edited editions of it.
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Paul Bettany and Clive Owen were considered for the role Lord Asriel.
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"The Golden Compass" is the American title of the book which Philip Pullman published in the UK as "Northern Lights".
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The king of the polar bears, Ragnar Sturlusson (voiced by Ian McShane) is called Iofur Raknison in the books. But the name was changed to prevent confusion between him and Iorek Byrnison.
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Early in production, the movie was aimed for a November 16, 2007 release.
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In July 2003 Tom Stoppard was hired to write the screenplay. A year later, when Chris Weitz was hired to direct, he rejected Stoppard's script, preferring to adapt Philip Pullman's work himself.
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Tom Courtenay has said in interviews that his role was cut to the bone in editing.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Pivotal scenes taken from the final chapters of the book were filmed and deleted shortly before the film's release. New Line Cinema has said it hopes to re-insert the scenes in a sequel.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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