Daniel Craig is taking a break from his action-packed and debonair character James Bond to play English aristocrat Lord Asriel in New Line Cinema’s fantasy-adventure The Golden Compass, which many hope is the first film in a trilogy.
The movie is based on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials book trilogy and when asked why he’d want to be part of another franchise, Craig said he didn’t think of it in that way.
“It didn’t really cross my mind. I genuinely was such a fan of the books that when I heard that they were making it I thought, ‘I’d like to do this. I’d like to get involved.’ I’m such a big Phillip Pullman fan and of his philosophies and his morals and the way he looks at the world and mostly the lessons in the stories,” he told ComingSoon.net. “He does what he does brilliantly as a writer. He writes children’s stories, but with major adult themes and sort of major ideas about being a good person and making the right choices.”
From very early on, the film has been pegged by spiritual conservatives as anti-religious and the Catholic Church believes the movie is an attack on their faith, and Craig isn’t surprised too surprised by the controversy.
“For me, I don’t think the story is anti-religious in any way. I think what they’re more against is the control and misuse of power that any organized religion or any political organization exercises over people they’re supposed to represent. I think that for me it’s what is important and the movie and the character I play sort of have this revolutionary idea of splitting all of the universes up so that all these ideas start flooding people and the whole thing gets turned on its head so they can move on. I think the classic thing is the majority of the people who are criticizing it probably haven’t read the books and they need to. And I’m sure the Catholic Church, which has said this is an attack on the Catholic Church, can handle.”
Unfortunately in this film, we only see Craig for a few scenes, but the charming actor assured us if there is a second movie his character will have a more prominent role.
“In the second one, yes [I will be in the film more]. If you’ve read the books you’ll notice we’re part of the story in the first one. We shot it and it didn’t make the movie because the timing wasn’t right. It will have to be in the second one because it’s actually how the universes break apart and how the whole story starts and how long the journey starts.”
Since Craig is such a fan of the books he said the aspect of the story that was important for the film to capture the essence of was the main character Lyra, played by Dakota Blue Richards.
“The key element for the film is Dakota. She had to be right, she had to convey strength, she had to be a little girl we wanted to follow, and she’s done that brilliantly I think. She’s so engaging. She’s got sort of a feral quality about her which I think was sort of important for the role. If you follow her and you want to go with her into this world, that’s just the icing on the cake.”
As for his character, which is different from any we’ve seen him play before, he said he loved Lord Asriel and wanted to portray him because of his scholarly and intellectual characteristics.
“I like the fact that he’s a bit of a revolutionary. Basically he wants to mix everything up. Knowledge is the most important thing for him and the only way you’re going to find knowledge is if there’s somewhere to go and explore, you need to go explore because that knowledge, even if it does you bad, will change things. Change is always good and that’s where I think his passion comes from.”
The Golden Compass opens in theaters on December 7.