With less than a month remaining before The Golden Compass debuts in theaters — and an entire trilogy’s worth of controversy already brewing around the film — director Chris Weitz has kicked off a weekly Q&A with filmgoers.
Weitz is participating in a weekly series at MTV Movies, answering questions about Compass every Wednesday, and the first installment is up now. It won’t do anything to change the minds of people who have already decided to boycott the movie, but Weitz’s candor is admirable, and his answers to these questions really drive home the difficulty (if not impossibility) of delivering an adaptation that will satisfy fans of Philip Pullman’s books while nullifying complaints from people who view them as attacks on religion. In the director’s own words:
What I would say to fans of the book who are worried about the fidelity of the film is – just see the film. Then we’ll have a good point of reference from which to talk. Or, of course, don’t see the film if you think that the book itself is harmed by departures from the text. Philip Pullman likes to quote James M. Cain on this issue. Once, when somebody asked him if he was worried what a movie adaptation would do to his book, he said, “What do you mean? The book is right over there, on the shelf.”
Now, one thing that some of the extremists who have attacked the film are right about is that I would be happy if it made more people read the books – not because I am pursuing any sort of atheist agenda (this is a ridiculous idea), but because they are great works of literature, beautiful, permanent, and unassailable. They’re not going anywhere. And as for those who are concerned that I have not used the word “Church” but only the word “Magisterium” for the bad guys, and that sort of thing, I would advise them to do a little research into the meaning of the word “Magisterium” for starters. Some people will only be satisfied if the film I’ve made is an outright attack on religion, which to me shows that they have misapprehended the meaning of Pullman’s books as much as the “other side.”
To read more of Weitz’s thoughts on the film — and his plans for the sequel — click on the link below!
Source: MTV Movies