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The Golden Compass (2007) Poster

Trivia

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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George R.R. Martin once cited this film as one of the reasons he wanted Game of Thrones (2011) to be a television series, rather than his books being turned into movies.
Director Chris Weitz said this ended up being a "terrible experience" for him, since the complete movie was recut by New Line Cinema.
First movie to gross over three hundred million dollars worldwide, while failing to reach one hundred million dollars in the U.S. Although a U.S. box-office disappointment, only grossing seventy million dollars, the movie captured three hundred two million dollars at the foreign box-office. The worldwide box-office for the movie is three hundred seventy-two million dollars. This became a more common phenomenon following the expansion of the Chinese box-office market, that began in 2010. However, this movie only grossed four million dollars in that market.
Despite a prominent billing, Sir Christopher Lee only had one line.
The scene where Marisa Coulter hits her monkey was not in the books, but was written by the books' Author Philip Pullman.
Nicole Kidman originally turned the role as Marisa Coulter down, but Philip Pullman (the author of "His Dark Materials") convinced her to take the role.
Some scenes were shot in Norway, in places such as Bergen and Svalbard, but none of the actors or actresses 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 and actresses could fall ill, due to the extreme temperatures.
Filming took one hundred days. Dakota Blue Richards (Lyra) was in every scene of the film, aside from two, which required her to shoot for ninety-eight out of the one hundred days.
The name "Serafina Pekkala" originated when Philip Pullman browsed through a Finnish telephone directory.
Sir Christopher Lee and Sir 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.
Nonso Anozie was replaced by Sir Ian McKellen as the voice of Iorek Byrnison. Chris Weitz stated in an interview with Empire Magazine: "It was a studio decision. You can understand why you would cast Sir 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."
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, only Kidman made it into the film.
Lord Asriel is played by Daniel Craig, who also played James Bond from 2006 to 2015. The part was previously played, in a London stage adaptation, by Timothy Dalton, a former Bond.
The planned sequels never developed, due to under performance in the U.S. box-office, and the uncertain economic climate. However, in November 2015, New Line Cinema announced they would develop an event series based on Philip Pullman's books instead, not related to this film.
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.
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 twenty-four-carat approval of Philip Pullman. 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.
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.
Daniel Craig did most of his own stunts, especially in the Swiss glaciers.
In December 2007, Nicole Kidman hosted a special screening of this film, for the sick children at Sydney Children's Hospital, in Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.
Sam Elliott proclaimed that this was by far the most exciting CGI film, in which he has been involved.
Ridley Scott was the first person to be offered the job of directing the film, and the first to turn it down.
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.
Eva Green had to shoot several scenes while being up in the air, tied to wires. However, she suffers from a fear of heights, and refused to re-shoot some scenes as she was horrified by the experience.
Philip Pullman, author of the novel, was admittedly disappointed by the final cut of the film, but appreciates the performances.
Nicole Kidman was raised as a Catholic, and on the topic of religious controversies of the film, she announced that she wouldn't have participated in the film, if she felt it went against her religious beliefs.
According to Deborah Forte, she and Philip Pullman discussed Nicole Kidman for the role of Marisa Coulter ten years before the movie went into production.
Ozymandias, the golden monkey, was the hardest daemon to make, because he had to move and jump around all the time.
All the scenes shot in Oxford were filmed at night using artificial light, because the local council did not permit Chris Weitz to shoot during the daytime.
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.
The series title, "His Dark Materials", comes from a line in "Paradise Lost" by John Milton. This is a favorite literary work of Philip Pullman who has edited editions of it.
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 non-viable in the U.S. However, Weitz reassured fans by saying that religion would appear in euphemistic terms.
By the time of release, the film had the biggest budget for a film with a solo female protagonist.
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The snake that Edward de Souza holds is real. It is a corn snake, which is non venomous.
"The Golden Compass" is the American title of the book, which Philip Pullman published in the UK as "Northern Lights".
There were roughly six hundred costumes created for the film, all from scratch.
Dakota Blue Richards' mother (Mickey Richards) made a cameo appearance as a diner in the scene at the restaurant with Nicole Kidman.
New Line Cinema estimates that fifty percent of the potential box-office income was unaccomplished due to the religious controversy surrounding the film. The production company sold off foreign rights, and proceeds from those sales covered about sixty percent of the film's one hundred eighty million dollar budget.
WILHELM SCREAM: The famous scream is heard when a witch is hit and falls during the battle near the experimental station.
Dakota Blue Richards' first feature film.
The "real world" night scene in 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.
Eva Green announced during promotion of the film that the (later abandoned) sequel was set to begin filming in September 2008.
Nicole Kidman said her deamon would be an otter or a kitten, while Eva Green said it would be frog, because it's French.
Tom Courtenay has said in interviews that his role was cut to the bone in editing.
Paul Bettany was in negotiations to play Lord Asriel.
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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Nicole Kidman's agents and executives from New Line Cinema spent over two months at what were described by one source at the studio as "complex" negotiations to secure the actress' services.
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Chuck Norris publicly condemned the movie as anti-Christian.
Originally, Adam Godley was hired to voice Pantalaimon, but he was replaced by Freddie Highmore.
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A ten-minute preview of the film was shown to audiences at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
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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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Early in production, the movie was aimed for a November 16, 2007 release.
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Paul Bettany and Clive Owen were considered for the role Lord Asriel.
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This film winning the Oscar for Best Visual Effects over Transformers (2007) was considered to be a huge upset.
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Although the ice bears come from alternate-universe Norway, they speak with English accents, presumably because a Nordic accent wasn't considered imposing enough.
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The advert had the "Overture" music from Lady in the Water.
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This film marks the second collaboration between Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman. Their first collaboration was in The Invasion (2007).
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This film reunites stars from the James Bond franchise: Daniel Craig who was James Bond from 2006 to 2015; Eva Green, who was the leading Bond girl in Casino Royale (2006); and Sir Christopher Lee, who was the former Bond nemesis in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974). Coincidentally, the character of Lord Asriel, played by Craig in this film, was performed earlier by his predecessor as James Bond, Timothy Dalton.
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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.

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