Religion is in (say Empire)
Posted on by Ian

The very first image from the movie, which we featured here some weeks ago, was included with a brief article in this month's edition of Empire. Much of what is said is old news, but it does include a reiteration on the part of Pullman that the “potentially controversial religious undertones” have not been removed by Chris Weitz. Click the thumbnail to view the article. Thanks to our cast affiliate site, Dakota Blue Resource for the tip off.

About Ian

A keen fan of His Dark Materials and Philip Pullman. Assistant to Paul Temple and Sir Graham Forbes.
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18 Responses to Religion is in (say Empire)

  1. Arya says:

    I'm glad they're not taking out the religious part of the movie and I can't believe how many articles are out about the movie already. I'm so excited!!!

  2. PRAEst76 says:

    Good to hear, kinda reminded me about the rumour I heard regarding the company that wanted to film Terry Pratchett's "Mort", but wanted to get rid of the "death" angle as they thought it was too depressing…

    BTW, don't fear thumbnails. Contrary to rumour the vast majority of the internet aren't running in 1600×1200 and beyond yet. I hate that horizontal scrollbar.

  3. Ali says:

    That is the best news about the movie in ages. *sigh of relief*

  4. climbing up the walls says:

    So this tells us that

    1. the world is in love with "a racist, homophobic, anti-semite"

    2. the world MIGHT be ready for "potentially controversial religious undertones."

    :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

  5. fin says:

    you have to remember that this is by no means any guarantee that they are going to keep many of the religious elements in the film.

    my advice is to take a fairly large pinch of salt with this news.

  6. IanG says:

    But Fin! Pullman has said over and over that religion is in! It is simply a misquote which led to all this fuss in the first place…

    Sorry about the lack of thumbnail – I can't set that sort of thing up, I can only post news…

  7. Gail says:

    I thought Pullman had said the Church wasn't going to be the 'institution' in the film, or at least it wasn't going to be named?

  8. Robert says:

    fin, Empire isn't some gossip magazine who publishes things that they are not sure of. They are pretty much the Premiere Magazine or Entertainment Weekly for the British. So I think your "take this with a grain of salt" comment is a bit out of line and sounds as if you WANT the film to fail even though you have proof right in front of you.

  9. Mockingbird says:

    Fin has a point and I think the fans who are going to go into these movies expecting the same level of anti-organized religion sentiments as are in the books are going to be very dissapointed.

    PP says Weitz's views matches his own, but from a previous interview I think he means that he's willing to accept a broad parallel, as a compromise, so organized religion=any form of facism, and what will probably be seeing in the movies is facism. I'm not too fussed, I support the films all the way. I'm not arguing with the credibility of the magazine but the real meaning of PP's comment.

  10. Willl says:

    (thumbnailed for those of us without epic screens) I think also what should be noted in this article is that the quote from Pullman isn't about religion at all; it's very much a magaziney quick catch-up with where the films stands. The proof will be in the (hopefully delicious) pudding.

  11. Schrodinger's Cat says:

    Believe me, religion is in the film. Wait until the film is near release, there's going to be an almighty uproar from the religious conservatives. Besides, the books are about so much more than just religion. Imagination, for one example.

  12. IanG says:


  13. Falcon says:

    I'm prepared to accept a certain level of toning down of the religious aspects, I think you have to be.

    *TAS spoilers here*

    I'm more concerned about how they'll handle the next films, especially TAS (should it get that far). If they start removing angels and The Clouded Mountain, and stuff like that then they are completely on the wrong track.

    What worries me most is how they seem to have changed Fra Pavel's character. He seems to have a greater relevance in this film than the books and I just hope that in later films he won't edge out characters such as Father McPhail, Father Gomez, and especially Metatron (I really wanna see Asriel and Coulter duke it out with him). When it comes to it I can see Fra Pavel adopting Father Gomez's role.

    Sadly all we can do is see how it plays out. And pray.

  14. Annabel says:

    Ah, but if you look in TSK it gives alretnative names to the angels, like "watchers" and "Bene elium" or something like that. They could use those to disguise the religious undertones if needs be.

  15. Geekazoid says:

    um sorry to tell you bene elim is clearly a religious reference its hebrew for the sons of the risen if thats not religious what is

  16. douglas rae says:

    There is really no way the religious aspect of it could be removed … I'm not sure if I can post a link here or not, but if so, it might be worth taking a look at the article at The Open Critic where the writer suggests that the books are intrisically theological in nature (link ). He/she argues that the books essentially turn the Christ story on its head.


  17. somaBID says:

    I still am a bit worried that the movie will be sanitized.

    The fear that it will be perceived as "against the church" is an easy, obvious but woefully inaccurate assessment. It is more about misuse of power and the sinister urge of humans to contol the lives of others. It just so happens, major purveyors of this sort of abuse of power seem to come from religious institutions.

    ANYWAY ~ in my obsession with these books, I compared the alethiometer interpretations pre-movie with the one on the movie website. Guess what is missing from the interpretations?

    Here we go:
    Sin (from Apple), Soul (from Bird, as well as Spring and Marriage ~ all three were rewritten for the movie version), Christ (from Bread) and The Church (from Sword).

    Religion still "in", eh? Will see how much New Line is willing to take on, I guess.

  18. ian says: