Editor, U.S.; Los Angeles, California (@filmbenjamin)
In yet another move proving that home screens are where it's at for ambitious projects these days, The BBC announced today that New Line Cinema and Doctor Who production company Bad Wolf will begin developing with Scholastic and author Philip Pullman an adaptation of Pullman's utterly superb His Dark Materials trilogy.

Some of you out there may recall New Line's attempt to bring the trilogy to the big screen in 2007 with The Golden Compass, a bonafide flop in the United States mere years before the real box office dollars moved to the international stage (where the film actually did pretty well with a $370m worldwide total).

For those not in the know, His Dark Materials is comprised of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. The series follows fierce preteen Lyra Belacqua as she and her animal-familiar trek across parallel earths, gaining allies and making enemies in their quest to rid all worlds of the tyrannical the Authority. Pullman's books have been controversial from the get-go, upsetting religious fundamentalists who often confuse the book's humanist message with a rampant anti-religious (mostly Christian/Catholic) one. Yes, that's there, but to be fair the books are not anti-faith and quite compassionately spiritual in their own right. Anyway... while the books have a decent following stateside, HDM rivals Harry Potter and The Lord Of The Rings in its native UK for beloved epic fantasy.

No further word on writers or directors for the BBC series has been announced, nor do we have a clear shape of what the series is to be other than a very complete and through long-from adaptation of all three books. Pullman himself had this to say:

It's been a constant source of pleasure to me to see this story adapted to different forms and presented in different media. It's been a radio play, a stage play, a film, an audiobook, a graphic novel -- and now comes this version for television. In recent years we've seen how long stories on television, whether adaptations (Game of Thrones) or original (The Sopranos, The Wire), can reach depths of characterization and heights of suspense by taking the time for events to make their proper impact and for consequences to unravel.

As an enormous admirer of the books and Pullman himself, I think this is absolutely the right way to approach a great adaptation of such a seminal work of literature. Time will tell just how successful this is, and a lot of that falls to whoever they hire to write and direct this epic. My hope is that it's one director for the whole thing and they merely shoot the series as a year-long production. That way we can watch in near real-time Lyra grow into a young adult. To capture that kind of essential transformation on screen is perhaps the most key element to get right from the books. Meanwhile, for director, may I suggest the left field choice of Andrea Arnold?

But what do you think? Sound off in the comments below!
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