His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (2007)

Character: Serafina Pekkala
Director: Chris Weitz
Co-Stars: Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Dakota Blue Richards, Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, Sam Elliott, Kathy Bates, Kristin Scott Thomas, Freddie Highmore, Tom Courtenay, Derek Jacobi
Written by: Chris Weitz
Based on: Northern Lights, a 1995 novel by Philip Pullman (the book is the first of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, respectively followed by The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass)
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
MPAA Rating: PG-13

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 (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.

Eva Green’s Role

Eva plays Serafina Pekkala, the Queen of the witches of Lake Enara, who guards and helps Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) on her voyage to battle the forces of evil and rescue her best friend Roger. 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.

Gallery Links
Promotional Shots & Stills
Teaser Trailer
First Look: The Golden Compass Footage
Comic-Con 2007: Extended Golden Compass Clip
DVD Screen Captures
DVD Features: Costumes
Online Link
IMDb Page
Available on: DVD, Blu-Ray and streaming services

Eva Green

On the film
“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.”


On her character Serafina Pekkala
“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 play 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.”


On some of the choices she made in bringing Serafina Pekkala 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.”


On 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.”


On working with Costume Designer Ruth Myers on her character Serafina Pekkala’s appearance
“I wanted to look a bit like from the Waterhouse painting. You know, quite pre-Raphaelite. And also she’s barefoot, quite ethereal, and the material’s quite translucent and see-through, because witches don’t feel the cold. If they were going to wear heavy clothing it would prevent them from sensing the world around them. They’re very close to nature.”


On why she signed up to do the film
“Because it’s a witch, first of all. I mean, it’s quite cool. It’s a little girl’s dream. And I love the books. The books are very rich, very complex and it’s not like a typical fantasy adventure. It’s very clever, very spiritual, very philosophical, and it’s also full of magic. It’s just fun and clever.”


On the challenges of filming her flying scenes
“It was not special effects. I was really in the air, suspended on wires and traveling very fast and I had to land very sharply. And I felt like I was in a plane crash sometimes. That was scary. That is not my favorite thing, I would say. But I’d learned a lot and I survived.”

“I was surrounded by very patient stunt people. It’s all in the head, so you really have to be calm and I learned a lot from it, actually. Just to focus. To concentrate. ‘I’m going to land. I’m going to land.”

Production Trivia & Facts

When asked what would be her dæmon, Eva stated that it would be a frog “because they’re French”.

Novelist Philip Pullman frequently visited Eva during filming of The Golden Compass to discuss the book (and its sequels) and her character Serafina Pekkala. Pullman was so impressed by Eva’s adaptation of Serafina Pekkala that he sent her a letter after filming praising her for her performance.
Awards & Nominations

Academy Awards (2008)

Won (Oscar)

Best Achievement in Visual Effects – Michael L. Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris, Trevor Wood

Nominated (Oscar)

Best Achievement in Art Direction – Dennis Gassner (Art Director), Anna Pinnock (Set Decorator)

BAFTA Awards (2008)

Won (BAFTA Film Award)

Best Special Visual Effects – Michael L. Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris, Trevor Wood

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films (2008)

Nominated (Saturn Award)

Best Fantasy Film

Best Performance by a Younger Actor – Dakota Blue Richards

Best Costume – Ruth Myers

Best Special Effects – Michael L. Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris, Trevor Wood

Art Directors Guild (2008)

Won (Excellence in Production Design Award)

Fantasy Film – Dennis Gassner (Production Designer, Richard L. Johnson (Supervising Art Director), Chris Lowe (Art Director), Andy Nicholson (Art Director), Tino Schaedler (Art Director – Digital Sets), James Foster (Standby Art Director), Gavin Fitch (Assistant Art Director), Helen Xenopoulos (Assistant Art Director)

Australian Film Institute (2008)

Nominated (AFI International Award)

Best Actress – Nicole Kidman

Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards (2008)

Nominated (Critics Choice Award)

Best Young Actress – Dakota Blue Richards

Best Family Film

Costume Designers Guild Awards (2008)

Won (CDG Award)

Excellence in Fantasy Film – Ruth Myers

Gold Derby Awards (2008)

Nominated (Gold Derby Award)

Visual Effects – Michael L. Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris, Trevor Wood

Golden Trailer Awards (2008)

Nominated (Golden Trailer)

Best Animation/Family TV Spot For “Epic”.

Best Animation/Family Poster

Hugo Awards (2008)

Nominated (Hugo)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) – Chris Weitz (Written By/Director), Philip Pullman (Based on the Novel By)

International Film Music Critics Award (2007)

Won (IFMCA Award)

Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction Film – Alexandre Desplat

Nominated (IFMCA Award)

Film Score of the Year – Alexandre Desplat

International Online Film Critics’ Poll (2009)

Nominated (IOFCP Award)

Best Visual Effects – Michael L. Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris, Trevor Wood

London Critics Circle Film Awards (2008)

Nominated (ALFS Award)

British Breakthrough (Acting) – Dakota Blue Richards

Motion Picture Sound Editors (2008)

Nominated (Golden Reel Award)

Best Sound Editing (Music in a Feature Film) – Gerard McCann (supervising music editor), Peter Clarke (Music Editor), Robert Houston (Additional Music Editor), Andrew Dudman (Additional Music Editor), Sam Okell (Additional Music Editor), Stuart Morton (Additional Music Editor)

National Movie Awards (2008)

Nominated (National Movie Award)

Best Family Film

Best Performance (Female) – Nicole Kidman

Best Performance (Female) – Dakota Blue Richards

Satellite Awards (2007)

Nominated (Satellite Award)

Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media

Best Original Song – Kate Bush For the song “Lyra”.

Best Cinematography – Henry Braham

Best Visual Effects – Michael L. Fink

Best Sound (Mixing & Editing) – Mike Prestwood Smith, Mark Taylor, Glenn Freemantle

St. Louis Film Critics Association (2007)

Nominated (SLFCA Award)

Best Animated or Children’s Film

Best Visual/Special Effects

SyFy Portal Genre Awards (2008)

Nominated (Genre Award)

Best Actress in a Movie – Nicole Kidman

Visual Effects Society Awards (2008)

Nominated (VES Award)

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Effects Driven Motion Picture – Michael L. Fink, Susan MacLeod, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris

World Soundtrack Awards (2008)

Nominated (World Soundtrack Award)

Soundtrack Composer of the Year – Alexandre Desplat

World Stunt Awards (2008)

Nominated (Taurus Award)

Best High Work – Paul Herbert, Nicholas Daines

Young Artist Awards (2008)

Nominated (Young Artist Award)

Best Performance in a Feature Film (Leading Young Actress) – Dakota Blue Richards

Best Family Feature Film (Fantasy or Musical)