Dakota Blue Richards The Golden Compass Interview


This might be her first film, but the strong performance by Dakota Blue Richards in the epic fantasy Golden Compass, is already causing quite the sensation. She is the heart, soul and star of this moving holding her own against daemons and megastars alike, as she explained to PAUL FISCHER in London.

Paul Fischer: Everyone's really raving about you

Dakota Blue Richards: Thank you.

Paul Fischer: How surprised are you by that?

Dakota Blue Richards: It's a bit surprising, I mean, you do kind of - well, Ifind, when I'm watching myself, I always find it really crazy andreally embarrassing. And I think it's partly because I was there whenwe were shooting it, and so I know what it was like to kind of have tothink about everything. But other people say it looks great, but Ijust find it really weird, watching myself.

Paul Fischer: You were a fan of the books before you did this?

Dakota Blue Richards: Yes, I was. My mom had read the books to me when I was aboutnine. And then, yeah, I was a big fan of the books, and I really lovedLyra.

Paul Fischer: As a fan of the books, what did you want the movie to capture?

Dakota Blue Richards: The kind of - the way the books are written, it's sobrilliant, and I think it's very important - because Philip Pullmanhas a way of having these grand ideas, that of course couldn't exist,but he has a way of making them feel real, and I think it was veryimportant that the film kind of captured the realistic-ness of it all.

Paul Fischer: Was it more fun for you to do scenes with other actors, or: the green screen scenes with pretend polar bears?

Dakota Blue Richards: I found the green screen work very, very hard. I think thatwas the hardest bit. And the less green screen there was, the easierit became. So working with people like Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman was so much easier than working with Iorek. Because of course, he wasn't there. And doing green screen work really makes youhave to think about everything twice, you know. You have to firstimagine that everything's there, so you have to think about otherpeople before you can think about yourself. And that's really hard,and really confusing, and you can get very lost. Especially when, Ididn't know what the animators were going to make it look like.

Paul Fischer: Nicole Kidman started as a child actress, did she give you any advice on being a child actor and starting your career?

Dakota Blue Richards: I don't think so. I remember she did mention that she kindof started around my age. And I had a book, a hardback copy of thebook, that I got everybody to sign, and she wrote in the book, staytrue to yourself, which I think is very important.

Paul Fischer: How do you do that?

Dakota Blue Richards: Well, one of the ways, Daniel Radcliffe told me once, thatyou should always keep the people around you that you know are goingto tell you the truth.

Paul Fischer: When did you run into him?

Dakota Blue Richards: We did a kind of work experience type thing, and basicallythe studios had sent me because of Harry Potter, just to speak topeople who'd kind of been through the same kind of thing as I had.

Paul Fischer: Did you know Emaa Watson was a huge fan of 'The Golden Compass'?

Dakota Blue Richards: Yes, yes I did.

Paul Fischer: Have people already started making comparisons between you and Emma?

Dakota Blue Richards: Yes, some people already have, but I think - I think, well,there is like a big difference between us. I don't really know hervery well, I mean, I've met her once. But I wouldn't say we were thatsimilar.

Paul Fischer: You still have school and friends?


Paul Fischer: How important is it to stay a part of that world, continue your studies and maintain friendships?

Dakota Blue Richards: I think that's very important, to me. If you don't have yourfriends and the people that are around you every day, around you, thenyou start to go mad. And that's why I don't like - that's why in thefuture, I don't want to be constantly acting, going from one film toanother, because I just think it would be so very lonely, to be awayfrom your friends and your family for so long. And to have no properkind of routine.

Paul Fischer: What would you do if you gave up acting?

Dakota Blue Richards: I don't want to give up acting completely, but I want to bea supply [substitute] teacher in primary school.

Paul Fischer: ReallyY? Why?

Dakota Blue Richards: Partly because I want to be a supply teacher. I want to be -generally, as a rule, children don't like their teachers, and I'm notsaying that about everybody, but generally. And I want to be one ofthe few teachers that kids are actually excited about getting theirlesson from. Yeah, I want to be one of the cool teachers. And then[laughs], the reason I want to be a supply teacher rather than a fulltime teacher is because as a supply teacher you can take time off.

Paul Fischer: A supply teacher for those who don't know is the same as a casual or subtitute teacher?

Dakota Blue Richards: Yes.

Paul Fischer: Is there any subject you want to teach?

Dakota Blue Richards: Well, because I want to do it in primary schools, youngerkids, you probably have to be a bit of an all around-er. But I likemath, I enjoy math, it's my favorite subject. So yeah, I think mathwould be a good subject.

Paul Fischer: What attributes of your character in this did you like the most, or feel were most like yourself?

Dakota Blue Richards: Well, like most, was probably her bravery, and her courage,and how she would go so far for her friends, and what she thinks isright. And I think what I see in myself, is probably more the way thatshe kind of talks a bit more than she should.

Paul Fischer: Outspoken?

Dakota Blue Richards: Yeah. And is too inquisitive, and stuff like that.

Paul Fischer: You have a lot of scenes with Nicole Kidman, how was your interaction off set? Did you bond at all? Did you have tension?

Dakota Blue Richards: No! No, no. Personally, I don't think it's necessary to bethe same with the actor as with the character, because I mean, youwork with people who really are lovely people, who play people thatyou hate, and I mean, you don't want to go around - what's the pointin kind of estranging yourself from people who are nice people, justfor the sake of the character?

Paul Fischer: How was it for you, to work with things like a stuffed bear head in place of Iorek? Hod did you get to the emotion, was it hard?

Dakota Blue Richards: Well it was very hard. As you can imagine, doing greenscreen is the hardest part of shooting. But I think what made it a loteasier was having people like (can't understand here) who read the voices of theanimated characters on set. And I really don't think I could've doneit without them.

Paul Fischer: Was it strange to hear the voice of Ian McKellen on screen, then?

Dakota Blue Richards: Yeah, it was a bit strange. To hear his voice. Because ofcourse I'd been doing all the acting against Nonno (sp?). And yeah, itwas also strange to be doing like of course the big emotional sceneswith Iorek. And I've never met him. And it's just a strange thought.

Paul Fischer: Will you meet him at the premiere, will he be there?

Dakota Blue Richards: Probably. I wouldn't know.

Paul Fischer: Next up is 'The Secret of Moonacre' right?

Dakota Blue Richards: We're finished making it, already.

Paul Fischer: Oh! So how was it? What excited you about that project?

Dakota Blue Richards: I don't know. I loved the story of that as well. And I mean,to be honest, in some ways, I prefer working on that more than onthis, and in some ways, I prefer this more than that. I mean, becausewe were out of the country shooting that, and there was one otherchild on set at any one time, and she was Hungarian, and she didn'tspeak any English, and my Hungarian is terrible. It's very hard to beaway from your friends for so long.

Paul Fischer: How different a character is she?

Dakota Blue Richards: Maria? Maria is - one of the main differences, Maria is verymuch a lady. Whereas Lyra is, you know, not. And not wanting to beone.

Paul Fischer: And yourself?

Dakota Blue Richards: Depends who's judging.

Paul Fischer: In the next film, there's a romantic subplot. How nervous are you about doing that kind of stuff?

Dakota Blue Richards: Um. Well I mean, of course I'm nervous. But I'm trying notto think about it so much, because then that way, it won't be asscary. Just the thought of it. And I know my friends are going to takethe mickey out of me. My friends will try to embarrass me as much asthey possibly can.

Paul Fischer: Will you have casting approval or least some say in who you get to kiss on screen?

Dakota Blue Richards: [laughs] I don't know. I mean, it's not going to be my choice.

Paul Fischer: I'm sure they'll look at your chemistry though.

Dakota Blue Richards: Yeah. But I mean, in 'The Secret of Moonacre,' the otherkind of main character, after I'd booked the part, and they wereauditioning, for him, I had to audition with them.

Paul Fischer: How would you explain the plot of 'Moonacre'?

Dakota Blue Richards: It's basically, there are the two families who are againsteach other, the Merryweathers and the DeMarks [?], and this is very,very basic and simple, one of the Merryweathers has to team up withone of the DeMarks to kind of set something right.

Paul Fischer: How excited are you at the prospect of working with these people for perhaps several films? 'Compass' of course.

Dakota Blue Richards: It's exciting. I mean, I love the role. I really do. And Ilove the people as well, so I'd be happy to do it.

Paul Fischer: How disappointed were you that the end was cut?

Dakota Blue Richards: I don't think it was so much of a disappointment as a bit ofa shock. And I mean, they did explain it to me, and I did understandit. I thought the new ending, although I haven't seen it, I'm sure itworks, because I understand their reasons for doing it, and I thinkit's probably for the best.

Paul Fischer: If you had a daemon what would it be?

Dakota Blue Richards: It would be one of three, it would either be a ring-tailedlemur, or a white hare, or a hedgehog.

Paul Fischer: How many times have you been asked that question?

Dakota Blue Richards: I've lost count.

Paul Fischer: And people hear the same answer every time.

Dakota Blue Richards: Yeah. You can't change your daemons. [laughs]

The Golden Compass

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Dakota Blue Richards, Sam Elliott, Eva Green, Daniel Craig
Directors: Chris Weitz, Bob Shaye

Based on author Philip Pullman's bestselling and award-winning novel, The Golden Compass tells the first story in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. The Golden Compass is an exciting fantasy adventure, set in an alternative world where people's souls manifest themselves as animals, talking bears fight wars, and Gyptians and witches co-exist. At the center of the story is Lyra (played by newcomer Dakota Blue Richards), a 12-year-old girl who starts out trying to rescue a friend who's been kidnapped by a mysterious organization known as the Gobblers - and winds up on an epic quest to save not only her world, but ours as well.

Other Interviews:
Daniel Craig - The Golden Compass - www.girl.com.au/daniel-craig-the-golden-compass-interview.htm
Nicole Kidman - The Golden Compass - www.femail.com.au/nicole-kidman-the-golden-compass-interview.htm


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