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Last Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Pullman welcomes director return
Philip Pullman
Philip Pullman said New Line had been "more than considerate"
Author Philip Pullman has welcomed the return of Chris Weitz as director of the upcoming His Dark Materials film.

The US director, who resigned from the project in December 2004, has replaced British film-maker Anand Tucker.

Production company New Line Cinema said Tucker left the film due to "differences in creative direction".

Weitz originally quit because of the "technical challenges" involved in adapting the first instalment of Pullman's fantasy trilogy.

But in the New Line statement, he said there was "just no way" he could pass up the chance to return.

'Truly excellent'

Based on the first book in Pullman's trilogy - published as The Northern Lights in the UK and The Golden Compass in the US - the film is scheduled to be released in November 2007.

Weitz, who will also write the screenplay, said he was "disappointed that New Line and Anand didn't end up seeing eye to eye".

Chris Weitz
Weitz has reportedly removed references to God and the church
However, he said that staying on in the role of screenwriter had given him "a better understanding of how a great film version can be accomplished".

The British author said he was "sorry to say goodbye to Anand... but glad the film will go ahead in such good shape".

On his website, the author has described Weitz's latest script as "truly excellent".

"I think it's a model of how to condense a story of 400 pages into a script of 110," he wrote.

"All the important scenes are there and will have their full value."

He also thanked the "10,000 girls" who turned up at open auditions held as part of a nationwide casting search for the young female lead.

'Open auditions' for Pullman film
14 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
Pullman trilogy gets new director
09 Aug 05 |  Entertainment
Dark Materials film-maker quits
15 Dec 04 |  Entertainment
God cut from Dark Materials film
08 Dec 04 |  Entertainment

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