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Preview: Golden Compass & Inkheart

01.29.2007

The good folks at New Line Cinema invited JoBlo.com to attend two set visits in London , England this past week, and I was lucky enough to be chosen to attend. I along with the other journalists were escorted to the Shepperton Studios just outside of central London to get an early exclusive sneak peak of THE GOLDEN COMPASS footage and watch a scene being shot for both that film and INKHEART. Here's a small preview of what to expect...

THE GOLDEN COMPASS

Director: Chris Weitz (American Pie, About a Boy)
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Eva Green, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, Sam Elliott, Ian McShane
Release date: December 7, 2007
Official site: www.goldencompassmovie.com

PLOT: 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.

Tuesday, January 23rd: Following The Golden Compass scene we witnessed with a make belief Iorek and Lyra who is perfectly portrayed by Dakota Blue Richards, we were given a tour of the "prop" room and "stunt" room and shown some incredible costumes, props, a recreation of a fight scene and the secret behind the witches' perfect flying techniques. We then had an elaborate interview with producer Deborah Forte, production designer Dennis Gassner and costume designer Ruth Meyers. Last but not least we were shown early footage of various scenes assembled for our eyes only.

Based on what I've witnessed thus far, it is safe to say that fans will not be disappointed by director Chris Weitz's fantasy screenplay adaptation of Phillip Pullman's best selling and award winning trilogy. It is obvious by the great attention that has been paid to detail, that authenticity is of utmost importance in the creation of the film, THE GOLDEN COMPASS.

INKHEART

Director: Iain Softley (The Skeleton Key, K-Pax)
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Jim Broadbent, Helen Mirren, Andy Serkis, Rafi Gavron, Sienna Guillory
Release date: TBA 2007

PLOT: INKHEART revolves around a girl whose father has the power to bring characters from books to life by reading aloud. When a villainous ruler and his band of rogues from a children's fable kidnap the man, his daughter and her friends, both real and imaginary, must rescue him. Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire penned the big-screen adaptation of German author Cornelia Funke's fantasy novel, the first of a trilogy. "Inkspell" was published last fall, and "Inkdawn" will be out next year.

Wednesday, January 24th: Again our group was swept away to a different set at the Shepperton Studios to watch a scene out of the action packed family adventure Inkheart currently in production. An adaptation of Cornelia Funke's best selling novel, it was very exciting to watch the all star cast consisting of Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, Andy Serkis and Eliza Bennett. We were then shown an incredible and unbelievably realistic nearly completed set, followed by a detailed explanation of the film's costumes by costume designer Verity Hawkes.

We were also walked and talked through a series of concept design pictures and their transitions by production designer John Beard, and given a demonstration by the film's animal trainers of the animal stunts performed in the film. The finale was a brief interview with the cast that had just finished shooting the scene we witnessed. Based on what I've seen in production so far, I am very impressed.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth and detailed review of my set visit, with pictures and interviews to come in the next week or two. In the meantime, I am totally LOVING London and entertaining the idea of relocating (wishful thinking of course!!)

Source: JoBlo.com

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