His Dark Materials producer denies HBO series will ‘attack religion’

A 2007 film adaptation of Philip Pullman’s novels was criticised for its anti-Church themes

Ellie Harrison
Thursday 25 July 2019 11:46
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Trailer for His Dark Materials, film based on books by Sir Philip Pullman

HBO’s forthcoming His Dark Materials TV adaptation “is not an attack on religion”, the show’s executive producer has said.

Jane Tranter’s comments come in the context of a backlash against the 2007 film, based on the same Philip Pullman fantasy novels, which was accused at the time of having anti-Church themes.

“The religious controversy that was around the film was not relevant to the books themselves,” said Tranter, according to Variety.

“Philip Pullman talks about depression, the control of information and the falsification of information….there is no direct contrast with any contemporary religious organisation.”

During a panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Tranter also took the opportunity to clarify what she believes the source material’s stance on religion is.

“Philip Pullman, in these books, is not attacking belief, not attacking faith, not attacking religion or the church per se,” Tranter said. “He’s attacking a particular form of control where there is a very deliberate attempt to withhold information, keep people in the dark, and not allow ideas and thinking to be free.”

She added: “At any time it can be personified by an authoritarian church or organisation, and in our series it’s personified by the Magisterium, but it’s not the equivalent of any church in our world.”

The hotly anticipated new adaptation stars James McAvoy, Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

His Dark Materials will premiere on BBC1 in the UK later this year.

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