British author Philip Pullman is extremely disappointed
by the fact that it is unlikely that the last two movies in the His Dark Materials trilogy will ever be film. The movie of the first book, Northern Lights
(the film was called The Golden Compass
, which starred Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Sam Elliot, made over 230 million pounds sterling worldwide, which is around 337 million dollars. But Sam Elliot says that the Catholic church's boycott made film makers wary of doing the next two films. The church said that the films introduce children to the concept of atheism.
Pullman, 63, told the Western Mail: "If Sam is right then I am very disappointed because it obviously would have been very good to have seen the other two films made."
Catholic League leader Bill Donahue has said he is "delighted" by the effectiveness of his religious boycott – "I knew if we could hurt the box office receipts here, it might put the brakes on the next movie."
Pullman said of Donahue's triumphalism: "It's disgusting, but only the sort of behaviour I expect of these people. It's rubbish [that the Golden Compass introduces children to atheism]."
He added that he was particularly disappointed because the film adaptation of Northern Lights finished about three quarters of the way into the book. "So there were a number of very important scenes that were shot and were very good, but we didn't see them in the film.
"Their justification was that they were going to use the scenes they'd shot, but at the start of the second film. It sort of made sense, but if what Sam Elliott says is true we won't see those scenes."
The villain in the books is a universal church which certainly had some aspects of the medieval Catholic church, such as Inquisition-like interrogations. But all that was stripped out of the movie: we didn't see any atheism promoted in the film, so we found the criticism puzzling. The books generated hostility from several organized religious groups, but the studio pulled all that material from the script. The villain is more like a corporation than a church.
In any event, we quite enjoyed The Golden Compass
and thought Nicole Kidman (who is a practicing Catholic, by the way) was especially fabulous.