December 8, 2004


God is cut from film of Dark Materials (Sam Coates, 12/06/04, Times of London)

THE Hollywood adaptation of Philip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials, in which two children do battle with an evil, all-powerful church, is being rewritten to remove anti-religious overtones.

Chris Weitz, the director, has horrified fans by announcing that references to the church are likely to be banished in his film. Meanwhile the “Authority”, the weak God figure, will become “any arbitrary establishment that curtails the freedom of the individual”.

The studio wants alterations because of fears of a backlash from the Christian Right in the United States. The changes are being made with the support of Pullman, who told The Times last year that he received “a large amount” for the rights.

Theres a lesson here for Islam--if you have economic and political power you don't need to actually whack Salman Rushdie.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 8, 2004 7:56 AM

Optioning the book to be made into a movie in the first place probably seemed like such a great idea to the studio execs before Nov. 2.

Posted by: John at December 8, 2004 8:43 AM

So much for Pullman's artistic and philosophical integrity.

Posted by: Mike Morley at December 8, 2004 9:28 AM

Yeah, Mike Morley's right. Pullman envisions himself as the atheist C.S. Lewis or Tolkien. That's all well and good, but he's most certainly NOT railing against some amorphous political authority in his books, but THE Authority. Bizarre.

Posted by: kevin whited at December 8, 2004 9:30 AM

Hollywood watering down a book so that's it's inoffensive.... Let's add The Golden Compass (which I haven't read) to the list of bowlderized books that includes The Sum of All Fears.

Posted by: G R Hail at December 8, 2004 10:17 AM

Pullman is overrated anyway. His comments railing against the Narnia books reveal someone with only a shallow understanding of their ideas. His writing also shows a fundamentally distorted view of Christian theology and history; either that, or he's being terribly dishonest.

For detailed critiques, see:

Posted by: Roy Jacobsen at December 8, 2004 11:40 AM

Frankly, I've never heard of this Pullman character but he sounds like just another shill out for the bucks to me. If he had the courage of his convictions, he would be content to have an indy producer do his movie and let the market decide, rather than submitting to the dictates of Hollywood industry types.

Let me see if I have this right. He wants to encourage people to 'fight the Power' but when a Hollywood suit wants to carve up his magnum opus like a Christmas (religious-seasonal reference intended) goose, he goes completely wobbly.

Could he be a bigger wuss-bunny?

Posted by: Bart at December 8, 2004 12:30 PM

Compare and contrast Pullman with J.K. Rowling, whose "Harry Potter" series has a strong moral (if not stealthily Christian) subtext, and who kept the screenwriters of the movie adaptation of her books on a short leash.

Posted by: Mike Morley at December 8, 2004 1:31 PM

Pullman's atheistic leftist faith revealed in the end as just sordid obeisance to Mammon. How pathetically typical.

Posted by: Amos at December 8, 2004 6:48 PM

My 3 year old adopted Russian nephew used to ask, "Is that real life, or pretend life?" whenever I'd make a joke or tell a pun.

Comparing oneself to C.S. Lewis does not make one C.S. Lewis.

Posted by: Randall Voth at December 9, 2004 9:14 AM