His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (2007)

Character: Serafina Pekkala
Director: Chris Weitz
Co-Stars: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, Sam Elliott, and Ian McShane

Release Date: The world premiere will take place in London on Nov 26 2007 followed by the first territorial openings in France and Spain on Wed Dec 5 and in Germany and Holland on Thursday Dec 6.

The rest of the world, including North America, opens on Dec 7, except Italy which goes one week later on Dec 14 and Australia on Dec 26. Japan will open three months later on March 1.

Based on author Philip Pullman’s bestselling and award-winning novel, The Golden Compass tells the first story in Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. The Golden Compass is an exciting fantasy adventure, set in an alternative world where people’s souls manifest themselves as animals, talking bears fight wars, and Gyptians and witches co-exist. At the center of the story is Lyra (played by newcomer Dakota Blue Richards), a 12-year-old girl who starts out trying to rescue a friend who’s been kidnapped by a mysterious organization known as the Gobblers – and winds up on an epic quest to save not only her world, but ours as well.

Character Profile:
Serafina Pekkala is the Queen of the witches of Lake Enara. More than three hundred years old, she has the longevity and vigor of her kind, with the appearance and energy of a woman in her twenties. Like all witches, she has the power of flight and is privy to arcane knowledge that comes by way of the signs of the forest and tundra she inhabits and its proximity to the far North, where the barrier between worlds is thin.


  • “I’m playing Serafina Pekkala, a good witch, a very wise character. I hope the studio will be brave enough to bring the darkness and not make it a new Harry Potter. It questions religion and God, so we’ll see what they do with it. But the first script is really good.”
  • “She’s not a traditional witch. She’s very maternal, very nurturing towards Lyra. It is quite a mysterious role, which I found very attractive.”
  • On what attracted her to playing Serafina:
    “I read the Philip Pullman trilogy and really liked the role – she’s strong and hundreds of years old. She is a witch who is a guide, philosopher and friend to Lyra. It is quite a mysterious role which I found attractive.”

  • About her witch training:
    “Serafina has to just drop [to land], and I always have problems, even on swings and rollercoasters. So this is the most challenging thing. It’s very fast.”

  • About some of the choices she’s made in bringing the character to life:
    “I wanted to make her sound quite other worldly and yet from another age. I worked with my voice coach, Roisin Carty to create a sort of medieval Scandinavian drawl.”