Friday, October 05, 2007

Christopher Lee And Ian McKellen In The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass is nearing the end of post production now, with only a few more weeks of FX work before the end of October and a complete lock down of everything at the beginning of November. Amazing, then, that some of it's best kept secrets have remained hidden for so long.

I've been e-mailed this afternoon by an Italian reader of film ick, [EDIT: himself a webmaster] telling me that not only will Christopher Lee be appearing in the film - in the flesh, as it were, as a member of the sinister Magisterium - but that his Lord of the Rings sparring partner Ian McKellen will be involved also. Their source seems to be a fairly reliable His Dark Materials fansite, themselves getting info from a tried and tested source.

The story goes that McKellen will be voicing Iorek Byrnison, the great white bear you see Lyra riding on the posters and in the trailers. Previously it was believed that Nonso Anozie was providing the voice of Iorek. Did Anozie record the role and then get bumped for McKellen? Or is there a wire crossed with McKellen actually voicing another of the bears?

Or - maybe - is this going to turn out to be nothing but hot air?

Oxford's a good place to be to ask about these matters as there's plenty of folk around who touched on the production in one way or another and plenty more who know Phillip Pullman himself. Feelers have gone out...

[EDIT: From Oxford as well as further abroad, I'm getting confirmations on Christopher Lee but denials on Ian McKellen. Of course, the McKellen element may be hush-hush even to people partially or tangentially related... hopefully something more solid will come up soon]

[EDIT AGAIN: McKellen is listed as a voice on an official announcement now (indeed, the announcement was written before I even heard this rumour, but the trickle down was a wee bit slow) ... but it still isn't clear which voice. let's face facts though, it's almost certainly Iroek. This has clearly been a relatively late decision. Nobody has said anything official about Christopher Lee but I've got plenty of nods on that one, so expect it to be true]


11 comments:

BenMech said...

I wouldn't be shocked if these rumours are bunk. BridgeToTheStars.net has no info about these.

Brendon said...

There does seem to be quite a strong rumour that most people I've consulted have heard, discussed, passed on - and that's the Christopher Lee element.

Where the McKellen bit comes from... well, I keep meeting frowns and shaking heads with that.

Rumours are rumours. We'll see if there's any more to this.

andrea said...

Mckellen is confirmed, read the official statement:

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=38028

Kevin-Lee said...

I love McKellen (not in that way, you understand) but I'm just not hearing him as Iorek. Not that I'm against this development, if it is indeed true, but I'm crossing my fingers that this is a classic chinese whispers scenario and there is another role he's playing.

C. said...

The McKellen rumour made its debut this week on the imdb-boards via this article: http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=38028

And according to that italian site the final part of the film is being altered at the behest of the producers, not Weitz.

Brendon said...

Yes, I saw that about the producers having veto over Weitz on this but, of course, that's why Weitz got the gig: they really had veto over everything.

It still makes me angry that they simply got somebody they could push about.

Anonymous said...

Christopher Lee's official site (http://christopherleeweb.com/), which is run by his son-in-law, reported his involvement more than two months ago... but doesn't confirm what role he's playing.

Anonymous said...

AND he was just at Oxford Uni!

http://www.oxford-union.org/termcard?SQ_CALENDAR_VIEW=event&SQ_CALENDAR_EVENT_ID=1144&SQ_CALENDAR_DATE=2007-10-03

Brendon said...

I knew he was at the Union here, but apparently, he didn't answer the specific question we still have: is he playing a member of the Magisterium?

Everybody is saying he is, however. So I guess so.

Anonymous said...

http://www.firstshowing.net/2007/10/10/new-full-length-golden-compass-trailer/
Around 33 seconds, there's a flash of someone who looks like Christopher Lee.
Around the 2 minute mark there's a talking bear, who sounds VERY much like Ian McKellan.
Now I'm really getting excited about this movie.

Brendon said...

No need for links out of the site, I;ve had direct download links to that trailer up for days. Look on the front page, or search for it.