Compass Film Strips Book's Anti-God Moral

Author Pullman's stab at organized religion gets mass-appeal makeover
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2007 9:58 PM CST
   (©2007 Laurie Sparham/New Line Cinema)
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(Newser) – When the film version of hit children’s book The Golden Compass hits theaters this month, its atheist message will be thoroughly scrubbed—but the author is mainly holding his tongue. Philip Pullman says New Line would have scored a bigger hit by preserving God and clergy as villains, but he’s remaining “sensible” so not to jeopardize future adaptations, the Atlantic’s Hanna Rosin reports.

One executive admits to making the bad guys “vaguely kind of like a fascistic, totalitarian dictatorship.” As amiably as possible, Pullman says Hollywood would prefer him dead—to minimize any controversy. The film destroyed the book’s soul, Rosin concludes, leaving “a string of disconnected proclamations.” It’s a sign of the times in Tinseltown, where it’s best to appease growing Christian audiences.