Is there new hope for the film adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials? It would seem so. After seeing Tom Stoppard’s contributions eviscerated by Chris (American Pie) Weitz, only for Weitz to weasel out at the last minute, Anand Tucker is now on board to direct. Tucker made one of the best films of 1998, Hilary and Jackie. And anyone who can get Emily Watson and Brenda Griffiths to offer some of the best performances of their careers while also making a cello’s presence ominous has my unmitigated support.
Unfortunately, it looks like Weitz is still on board the project and while Tucker will be whacking the script into shape (with Weitz), Tucker has no screenwriting experience to speak of. If we can’t have Stoppard, then here’s hoping that Hilary and Jackie writer Frank Cottrell Boyce somehow becomes involved so that Weitz’s potential treacle might be kept under control. (via Ghost in the Machine)
It’s a real shame Weitz is still involved because he “removed references to God and the church from the script, despite being dominant themes in the book” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/film/4133846.stm)
Philip Pullman seems pleased with Anand Tucker though. He is “very impressed by his knowledge of the story and his passion for it” as reported on his website:
So hopefully there is still hope for the movie.
However, if the script still doesn’t include references to God or the church, the movie will be very disappointing since it wouldn’t even resemble His Dark Materials.