Just as it did with its Tolkien tale, the studio offers just a peek at “Golden Compass.’
By John Horn, Times Staff Writer
May 21, 2007
CANNES, France — There’s no denying that Hollywood worships sequels. New Line Cinema has taken the love affair one step further: It’s cloning not a movie, but a movie launch.
For the second time in six years, the studio has come to the Cannes Film Festival with a few minutes of an unfinished film in tow. It’s to prove, yet again, that New Line not only hasn’t trampled a beloved piece of fantasy literature, but also has turned out an impressive epic. The drill turned out beautifully with 2001′s sneak peek at “Lord of the Rings” footage. But can lightning strike twice with “The Golden Compass”?
In the works for six years, “Compass ” represents what New Line — and writer-director Chris Weitz — hopes will be the first installment in another trilogy of ambitious blockbusters. Like “The Lord of the Rings,” which had a tortuous path to the screen, the first movie adapted from Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” books did not coalesce easily. And as was true with New Line’s choice of Peter Jackson to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Golden Compass” represents a steep wager on a counterintuitive filmmaking choice.
Weitz is moving from alternately crude and clever comedies (“American Pie,” “About a Boy”) to an epic, effects-laden children’s adventure, set to open Dec. 7.
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