With the first instalment of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, The Golden Compass (based on the book titled Northern Lights in this country), still halfway through production, New Line are getting ready for a second helping of fantasy goodness with the news that they’ve hired a scriptwriter for the second book, The Subtle Knife.
Hossein Amini is the man with the plan, and indeed word processor, who will be translating Pullman’s book for the screen. Amini’s currently working on Drive, which Hugh Jackman is attached to star in, and previously wrote the critically acclaimed Wings of the Dove and the largely overlooked The Four Feathers.
The second book introduces the character of Will, a 12 year-old boy on the run who finds himself in a different world, where he meets Lyra Belacqua, the heroine of the first film (played, at least in part one, by Dakota Blue Richards) and is drawn into her quest. No word on casting yet, of course, but with the first film starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, as well as Eva Green and Sam Elliot, expect a similarly starry line-up.
That leaves Amini with the unenviable task of writing a sequel that, initially at least, features none of the main characters in the first film. Still, he can comfort himself with the knowledge that it’s a bloody brilliant book and he’d have to trip over his own shoelaces and land headfirst on the keyboard to muck it up. Not that we think that’s likely – his adaptation of Wings of the Dove was rather fab.
One caveat though – this doesn’t mean that The Subtle Knife, let alone The Amber Spyglass, are officially greenlit. That won’t happen until the first film comes out and (hopefully) does well. But it is a sign of confidence in the franchise, so let’s all keep fingers crossed and wallets at the ready to make sure that the second and third films do eventually get made.