Materials Girl Found

Lead located for His Dark Materials film

After a lengthy, countrywide casting trawl, Chris Weitz has netted the girl who will play Lyra Belacqua in the first outing for the planned His Dark Materials franchise.

Dakota Blue Richards (not to be confused with Ms Fanning) is the 12-year-old newcomer who was plucked from 10,000 girls auditioning for the role. She’ll be meeting talking armoured bears and her own personal daemon before you know it.

Weitz will kick off shooting on the first film – under the American title The Golden Compass – on 4 September in the UK. Compass (known as Northern Lights over here) launches Lyra’s voyage of discovery as she learns some hard facts about her family and heads out on a mission to save her best friend.

New Line currently wants to have the film in cinemas on 16 November 2007.