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Harry reports on THE DARK IS RISING in Bucharest!!!

Bucharest… Romania… They’re words on a globe, a place that doesn’t entirely seem real to me. A place that Jonathan Harker visited on his way to Dracula’s castle. A place where one of the worst tyrants of all time reigned, Ceausescu. I remember during my first semester of college, the amazing pictures of this city as it took it’s own freedom through revolution and a monster was done away with. This used to be one of the jewels of Eastern Europe, but under a harsh rule, the town changed and the people changed. And over the last 18 years, wow… it’s been that long, what has this city and place become. I was very curious to see what this place was like, so when an opportunity to come to Bucharest, a place, I never could have imagined coming to – showed up… well, I had to go. What was the reason for coming? Well, there’s a new movie called THE DARK IS RISING, from a new studio called FOX WALDEN from a fairly new director named David Cunningham – with a lot of talent behind him. I’m here, because I don’t know much about this film, I mean – I knew it was based on a fantasy novel by Susan Cooper, that is in itself a series of fantasy novels, but I’ve never read them. On the plane over, I read the script by John Hodge, you know him… he’s that Scottish writer behind SHALLOW GRAVE, TRAINSPOTTING, A LIFE LESS ORDINARY and THE BEACH. Danny Boyle’s early co-conspirator. What was he doing writing a screenplay adaptation of some juvenile fantasy? Well, he was doing a damn good job of story-telling.

You see, this is the story of young Will Stanton. He’s the runt of the family litter. The youngest in a house overstuffed with big brothers. On top of that, his family is living in England, where his Physics Professor father is teaching. He feels out of place here, in fact he feels out of place in his own home. He’s at the age, where he begins to long for pretty girls, even though he’s not entirely positive what he’s supposed to do with them, not that he’d have the nerve to do much of anything at all. For one, his brothers are always teasing him, not cruelly, but in that way that big brothers do. Will Stanton has never been a special boy. He’s not particularly exceptional in any way, nor has his life.

We pick up on Will’s life just before he is turning 14. He’s cursed with a birthday, just two days before Christmas. Meaning… getting short changed on the present side, and being sort of swept up in the midst of Christmas. On this day, people begin coming forward and singling Will out by name. Old people, old BRITISH people. And when he looks, it seems people, dogs, birds… they’re all watching him. Is he just being paranoid? You see, poor Will – he’s destined to attempt to save the world. It’s the old story of Light vs Dark. A timeless tale… no, a time-full tale – one that will take place in many ages but in one place. This small town that he lives in. Will belongs here, and when the Old Ones come forward with his destiny, he’s not sure if he believes. When The Walker stalks him, he doesn’t know why. When the Rider hunts him, he wants to run. And when the mall police beak out and chase him, he begins to sense something very very messed up.

WALDEN – which has made THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE at Disney, SAHARA at Paramount and THE BRIDGE OF TERABITHIA, along with others has been making fine, handsome productions out of literature. This is their latest. Here in Bucharest, on the lot of MediaPro Studios – on the edge of the most ancient forest in Bucharest – they are shooting THE DARK IS RISING. The film isn’t cast with big movie stars, instead – it’s filled with great character actors and performers that come from the land of television. You’ve got Ian McShane from DEADWOOD, Frances Conroy from SIX FEET UNDER and Christopher Eccleston from HEROES and curiously enough… SHALLOW GRAVE by John Hodge. The star of the film though is a very young Alexander Ludwig, an unproven little boy, that has to carry a pretty big film upon his shoulders. Also, the film has actors like Jonathan Jackson, James Cosmo, Jim Piddock and the very very lovely Amelia Warner.

Not giant names, but the right ones for their characters. Strong performers whose faces are not over exposed on the silver screen. On the back side, the talent making this movie with this young director, more known for Documentaries, than features – are folks like Production Designer, David Lee – he’s been Art Director on films like BATMAN BEGINS and STAR WARS: EPISODE III – REVENGE OF THE SITH. Then there’s Vin Burnham – she’s worked in costumes – designing or creating work for films like Tim Burton’s BATMAN and BATMAN RETURNS, for THE FIFTH ELEMENT and BRAZIL. Films like Monty Python’s THE MEANING OF LIFE. Working on projects like THE DARK CRYSTAL, LABYRINTH… Her most famous creation, Michelle Pfeiffer’s Cat Suit for BATMAN RETURNS. This article is the tease for many more articles to come. The pictures above are images from the film. Below – you’ll see one shot I took on set. Nearly everyone mentioned in this article, I’ve interviewed one on one for an hour each yesterday. I was given access to dailies and edited together scenes. Went on tons of the sets and I came away with a great feeling about this project. They’ve got huge painted backdrops, A Snowglobe the size of your house. Enormous sets that you’d imagine were made for the likes of Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone. I can’t wait to share this experience with all of you, but I must leave for the Carpathian Mountains right now… I’m off to see Transylvania… to see castles and vampires. I’ve got me garlic, holy water and cross around my neck. Till I get back stateside, this is Harry signing off from Bucharest from the set of THE DARK IS RISING...

Readers Talkback
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  • May 15, 2007, 1:40 a.m. CST


    by jimmy_009


  • May 15, 2007, 1:41 a.m. CST


    by hollywoodsummers


  • May 15, 2007, 1:46 a.m. CST

    McShane and Ecclestone

    by Alonzo Mosely

    are always interesting... Just wish I didn't have the feeling of dread that i am going to have to read through Harry lecturing us on things he found out about 20 minutes before like he is a world renowned expert... Oh well, such is the joy of visiting AICN...

  • May 15, 2007, 1:53 a.m. CST



    I'm not an expert on anything Romanian - but I've read quite a bit on Ceausescu, albeit, not since the early 90s. That said - I've learned a lot from going to dinner with a wonderful Romanian named Roxana, whom I've learned an amazing amount from just in the last 48 hours... and wait till I tell you about the Romanian donut desert... HOLY SHIT!

  • May 15, 2007, 1:59 a.m. CST

    He's starting already...

    by Alonzo Mosely

    You gotta love the big man, even as he makes you tear your hair out...

  • May 15, 2007, 1:59 a.m. CST


    by hargon27

    Great, another dog-shit Walden production. Oh well, they will reap ton of bank from the christian conservative families looking for something non-offensive (like that god-awful Narnia). Us, net-nerds, we dont care.

  • May 15, 2007, 1:59 a.m. CST

    McShane does, indeed, rock

    by charon

    He can do no wrong in my book after the prolonged testament to acting known as Deadwood. Hopefully this Cunningham can make a skillful transition to create the best kind of fiction, one with a realistic air. Seems to have a lot of good talent behind it and some great locations and sets. No luck wished, that's for primitive screwheads. Use the time well, all, and I hope to see this on the big screen.

  • May 15, 2007, 2:02 a.m. CST

    sounds pretty cool

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    pics are nice too. finally a fantasy movie i can look forward to :)

  • May 15, 2007, 2:07 a.m. CST

    Harry - Quick Question...(while you are here)

    by jordangta

    Harry, quick you watch The Office? Yes/No? Just wondering...odd question I know.

  • May 15, 2007, 2:08 a.m. CST

    Sounds cool

    by antonphd

    What a list of talent. I'm looking forward to this. Don't know anything about the books, but, I liked Sahara and there's not much you can really do with Narnia books, so, I'm willing to give Walden another chance.

  • May 15, 2007, 2:09 a.m. CST

    Walden makes such fine pictures

    by Evil Hobbit

    Can't wait for this one, Ian McShane is brilliant.

  • May 15, 2007, 2:16 a.m. CST


    by antonphd

    Thanks for the Spiderman 3 review. Nice to see that someone is willing to set aside nit picks and say that overall, while not brilliant, Spiderman 3 was fun. I don't know why people have to have their balls sucked just to consider a movie enjoyable. But... what do you say to people who's real complaint is that a Spiderman film isn't cool enough... other than accept that they just don't get the whole point of Spiderman to begin with. Which... is how I feel about people who like Venom, the one character that never belonged in Spiderman's universe to begin with. He belongs in Spawn's or at least Batman. What's a old school fan of Spidy supposed to do when he's forced to make a Spiderman movie with Venom. It's like trying to match Aliens with Star Wars... they don't belong together. Anyway, I'm glad you played your review smart and waited. And I'm really glad you were honest about it. Instead of just jumping on the Raimi backlash train.

  • May 15, 2007, 2:29 a.m. CST

    Well, if it's got magical wizardy shit in it

    by Vern

    I'm sure somebody will like it. I've noticed that kinda crap is popular: Harry Porter, Gymkata, etc.

  • May 15, 2007, 2:33 a.m. CST

    WOW! Look at the set design!

    by Darth Fart

    That's stunning. Very reminscent of Royal Flash design.

  • May 15, 2007, 2:41 a.m. CST

    Speak for yourself hargon27

    by critter42c

    Have you actually read the books? When I read the books as a kid, I started to find out more about the druids of old England and English mythology than anything else - that and Arthurian legends as Merlin plays such a large part of the book series. This net-nerd absolutely DOES care and cannot WAIT for this film.

  • May 15, 2007, 2:49 a.m. CST

    David Cunningham isnt "new "he's been shitty for years

    by Ravvy

    "from a fairly new director named David Cunningham – with a lot of talent behind him." Harry I love ya man, but thats the most wrong statement ever. David L. Cunningham has been manufacturing lame movies for nearly a decade now. I'd be surprised if he cranked out a "decent movie" let alone a good movie, I'd say he's just slightly more talented to than Uwe Boll, but less talented than Ratner.

  • May 15, 2007, 2:59 a.m. CST this a tv show or something?

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    Because it looks like a crappy pilot.

  • May 15, 2007, 3:08 a.m. CST


    by AllieJamison

    HA! I knew it. Well..I poorly speculated. GReat! but then i may be too much of a speculate on THE DARK IS RISING on a the dark knight is rising talkback. However. I'm confused. Isn't Cunningham the director of to end all wars? I love that film. Besides the strong story I think it's very well crafted. ....And..what about TINTIN with Spielberg and Jackson? I feel like I'm still dreaming.

  • May 15, 2007, 3:10 a.m. CST

    The books...

    by JacenSolo

    Read the books when I was younger and then reread them recently when I read an early draft of the script, really enjoyed them, though could be a risk in an over saturated genre...that being said the doors of the hall look awesome...

  • May 15, 2007, 4:18 a.m. CST

    That IS cool news!

    by Womb2dooM

    Thanks, Harry! I'll keep an eye out for this one. In return I shall recommend for you to see, um... uh... Chinatown!

  • May 15, 2007, 4:27 a.m. CST

    Eragon Part 2

    by Finklestone

    The books were fantastic. It's a real shame that the source material has been completely butchered by the jesus brigade, Susan Copper deserves better. And Harry's sycophantic arse-kissing to Walden Media is disgusting.

  • May 15, 2007, 4:34 a.m. CST

    Doesn't take much to get a whole bunch of advertorial..

    by Sledge Hammer

    ...propoganda pieces here on AICN, does it? A free plane ticket, hotel and some food on top and I'm sure we can look forward to at least half a dozen of these puff pieces, followed by the inevitable glowing review upon release. Integrity. Look it up. It's in the dictionary you know.

  • May 15, 2007, 4:41 a.m. CST

    These were some of my fave books when I was younger

    by Nezza

    Really great Arthurian British fantasy storytelling, up there with Alan Garner. Those naysaying the story should read the books (though the first book is a bit lame). Of course the film may rape my childhood, but I'm happy to give it the benefit of the doubt.

  • May 15, 2007, 4:42 a.m. CST

    Enough with fantasy series - for the moment?

    by Mr Gorilla

    The Susan Cooper books are truly great, and that cast looks fabulous. But, you know, we already have Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Narnia, The Golden Compass... I just hope these guys are doing something significantly DIFFERENT here. And although it's great to have a fresh director, I do think it's better to have a proven one who can really author the film and make it distinctive - like Nolan with Batman or even Lee with Hulk.

  • May 15, 2007, 5:10 a.m. CST

    Harry's Integrity

    by Finklestone

    Harry could always help to restore his integrity by writing an editorial that looks into how Philip Anschutz insidiously forces his religious agenda into schools via the handy educational programs provided by Walden Media to teachers for their family films...nah, what am I thinking? Harry would never do anything to risk upsetting his paymasters.

  • May 15, 2007, 5:27 a.m. CST

    Silly liberals

    by theBigE

    Whenever a group with conservative ties makes a film, why do you wacky liberals freak out like society is coming to an end? Most of what comes out of Hollywood is supported by groups with liberal ties - some of them extreme - yet it doesn't ruffle many feathers. How about keeping an open mind and just judging the film on its artistic merits and entertainment value? Whoa, that would be a switch!

  • May 15, 2007, 5:36 a.m. CST

    what is it with religious people?

    by kwisatzhaderach

    do they walk through life with their eyes shut?

  • May 15, 2007, 5:37 a.m. CST

    I hear they have some sexy hostels over there

    by BannedOnTheRun

    P.S. Shallow Grave was amazing.

  • May 15, 2007, 5:48 a.m. CST


    by AllieJamison

    Get yourselves a copy of TO END ALL WARS! Or...better not...because it actually deals with christian metaphors and themes. It will be great to use it in conspiracy accusations. While I'm catholic the fundamentalist's crap sucks. And I don't want them to gain power or something. Still Cunningham ist a very talented director and the story looks interesting. Really: Watch TO END ALL WARS!

  • May 15, 2007, 5:55 a.m. CST

    judge the film on its artistic merits...

    by Finklestone

    Good idea. Much easier just to bury your head in the sand and enjoy those cool special effects rather then think about what anti-homosexual or pro-censorship campaign your ticket money is indirectly financing.

  • May 15, 2007, 6:32 a.m. CST

    love the looks lame

    by paragraphs

    the mall? will's dad is a professor now? i'm sure these are just two in the many unnecessary changes by walden. this especially pisses me off because these books used to be some of my faves and have a ton of potential.

  • May 15, 2007, 6:35 a.m. CST

    PS. The Grey King

    by paragraphs

    The grey king, sequel to this book, is a fantastic young-adult book. it won the Newberry medal, i believe.

  • May 15, 2007, 6:58 a.m. CST

    This series is awesome.

    by zb.brox

    Seriously, was always one of my favorites, and I liked this one the best. They'd better not fuck it up. Everything looks good so far, though.

  • May 15, 2007, 6:59 a.m. CST

    Please name this series of visits "The Dork Is Rising"

    by tonagan

    Juvenile yes. Self-deprecating yes. I still like it, though.

  • May 15, 2007, 7:03 a.m. CST

    Hope they don't screw up

    by Sprinky

    I read Dark Rising years ago. I thought it was a great story.But my library didn't have the follow up books so i never read what happened then.This book was way before Harry Potter came along and i just hope they will do a good job.

  • May 15, 2007, 8:40 a.m. CST

    great series

    by mthrndr

    This is a great series of books. The problem is, since the movie is coming out after the Potter phenomenon most people will think this is just a rip-off like Eragon - even though these books have been out longer. Also, movies can lose a lot of nuance of the books. this is the main reason I've ignored the Lion, Witch,etc. I couldn't care less about the backer's political affiliation. give it a rest. Does anybody remember Bakshi/Zaentz's Lord of the Rings? What a piece of garbage.

  • May 15, 2007, 9:17 a.m. CST


    by zb.brox

    Yeah, if they make this an overtly Christian flick in the vein of Narnia, I will be pissed. This is a clearly pagan-influenced story. There may be Christian elements, but of the druidic-pagan-Christian mesh that was popular in the post-Roman Anglo-Saxon age in Britain.

  • May 15, 2007, 9:47 a.m. CST

    Don't get me wrong--

    by zb.brox

    I enjoyed Narnia, too. I loved those books as a kid, practically learned to read off them. Just saying that if they try to turn these books into those books, it'll screw them up.

  • May 15, 2007, 9:58 a.m. CST

    harry, either you messed up or...

    by occula

    ...the production did. will stanton starts his adventure on his 11th birthday, not his 14th. he is the 7th son of a 7th son and the number 11 is also important in the mythology. an 11-year old kid is entire different than a teenager, which could change the entire tenor of the movie. i am already pissed despite the nifty production pictures and the presence of heavy-hitting actors that they would do something like this. every time this happens i think of the mamet film 'state & main' where william h. macy says to philip seymour hoffman about his film 'the old mill,' 'does it have to be set at an old mill?' *sigh*

  • May 15, 2007, 10:06 a.m. CST

    The Books are great

    by Lovecraftfan

    Read them growing up.

  • May 15, 2007, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Walden Media

    by m2298

    I haven't seen any of these films, so perhaps someone can tell me how the following films promote a Christian fundamentalist/neoconsevative agenda?: Charlotte's Web,Amazing Grace, How to Eat Fried Worms, Hoot, Aliens of the Deep, Because of Winn-Dixie, Around the World in 80 Days, I Am David Holes, Ghosts of the Abyss and Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey.

  • May 15, 2007, 10:26 a.m. CST

    They are pouncing on every kid's series that can find

    by Dashing Roger

    Narnia. Bridge to Terabithia. The Dark is Rising. This sounds like a trip down my Scholastic weekly book order memory lane. <p> You know who you can blame for this (if it pisses you off, not sure how I feel about it yet): HARRY. No, not Harry Knowles. Harry Fucking POTTER. <p> You trying to be a writer in Hollywood? Write a kind series involving a new take on a magical force and a princess and a talking animal and a kid learning profound life lessons as he matures. Cha-ching!

  • May 15, 2007, 10:40 a.m. CST


    by zb.brox

    You're forcing hypocrisy where there is none. "Offensive" art and religious symbols can be placed in more or less the exact same places: Your home, a museum (public or private), private property of pretty much any stripe, etc. They can NOT be placed in the exact same places, as well: Court houses, schools, public parks, etc. etc. <br><br>Freedom of speech applies to individuals, and individuals do have it: you can go to your city park and preach whatever you like. Can you set up a nativity scene? No, but you can't plant a tree without permission, either, because it's not your front lawn.

  • May 15, 2007, 11:12 a.m. CST


    by sevenrivera

    Go to hell Harry. I've lost all respect for you since your Spiderman sell-out review. Now because they flew you out there for this movie and gave you VIP treatment and donuts, you're gonna say this movie is awesome even if it's not. By the way, did you note how the Spiderman review went in the regular section and not on the lefthand side column? Because Harry wanted it to disappear as quickly as possible. Get bent Harry, you're dead to me.

  • May 15, 2007, 12:12 p.m. CST

    This movie will be awesome if...

    by blckmgk13

    Mcshane calls everyone C*cksucker every two seconds. Just saying.

  • May 15, 2007, 12:18 p.m. CST

    The Dark is Rising

    by Crimean

    I loved that book in middle school. Set in 1970's rural England it featured an 11 year old British boy from a close-knit large family, father was a jeweler. Story was a mix of Arthurian legend with some faux-Druidism and Christian themes. I wish they were making that one into a movie. If anyone knows why this is the second fantasy series from Walden Media that started with the second book in the series let me know.

  • May 15, 2007, 12:19 p.m. CST

    I'm from Romania

    by DynamixRo

    And I felt the earth trembling a few days ago. I guess that was just Harry getting off the plane.

  • May 15, 2007, 1:22 p.m. CST

    so i just read an advertisement in disguise

    by Bongalongadingdong


  • May 15, 2007, 1:27 p.m. CST


    by zb.brox

    The difference is that the Ten Commandments aren't a matter of historical record. Maybe they were given by Moses, who maybe existed, and maybe got them from God, who maybe exists. All that. Martin Luther King Jr, on the other hand, quite certainly existed. The government should have no opinion on the question of the validity of the Ten Commandments--don't forget that the first commendment is "Though shalt have no other Gods before me"--while the government can certainly have an opinion on the existence of Martin Luther King, Jr. <br><br> The problem with your argument that this kind of thing could be considered censorship is that no one is saying, nor hopefully will ever say, that expressions of religious faith by individuals are inappropriate in public. You're talking about what the government expresses, and the government is not an individual, and it shouldn't express an individual point of view, only a point of view that respects all Americans equally.

  • May 15, 2007, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Does Romania have a Starbucks on every other corner?

    by Pound Sand

  • May 15, 2007, 1:57 p.m. CST

    I thought you went there to buy a dragon

    by CherryValance

    close enough

  • May 15, 2007, 2:31 p.m. CST

    I really want this to be good

    by freydis

    but I'm a little worried. Seems like they changed every important detail so far... and some of the little stuff (Will's dad going from jeweler to professor) seems like nerdy nitpicking but it actually does impact the narrative. I hope they pull it off... my guess, though, is a halfway decent movie that bears no relation to its source material besides the title.

  • May 15, 2007, 3:08 p.m. CST


    by zb.brox

    What other series started with the second book?

  • May 15, 2007, 3:13 p.m. CST

    The Dark is Rising is a great series of books

    by Jack Burton

    Truly excellent series of books but how the hell does this movie fit? Wasn't the final book in the series called The Dark is Rising? I don't remember the series being Christian based either, it was kind of pagan if I remember right so I'm not sure what Walden Media is doing with it. Of course it's been years since I read them so I could be wrong. I remember The Grey King was the best in the series though.

  • May 15, 2007, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Jack Burton--

    by zb.brox

    The Dark is Rising is the second book in the series. The last was called Silver on the Tree. My guess si that they won't bother making the first book (Over Sea, Under Stone) because it doesn't fit as well into the main thrust of the series. Totally different characters (with one exception), totally different genre (much more Hardy Boys (or Famous Five if you know what that is) than the more Fantasy-based second book), etc. etc. But, yeah, it's supposed to be much more Arthurian than Christian.

  • May 15, 2007, 3:28 p.m. CST


    by Crimean

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book of it's series following The Magician's Nephew. It's a bit of an arguable point as LLW was written first and MN was written I think fourth but it's still the official order. Also, thanks, it's good to see a debate in talkback that actually seem reasonable and thoughtful.

  • May 15, 2007, 3:34 p.m. CST


    by zb.brox

    That's only the "official" order in the last 10-15 years. When I had the books as a kid, they still had TLTWATW first. And I'm only 25, we're not talking aeons ago. I think just because they reorder them now to make them, what, less confusing for kids? doesn't make that the right way to do it. Wardrobe was the first written, it was the most classically appreciated, I'd call it the first.

  • May 15, 2007, 4:22 p.m. CST

    Bullshit - Knowles as paid shill. Discuss.

    by palimpsest

    This whole thing stinks. Cunningham has no pedigree whatsoever, and for him to claim so is retarded. Hodge is an interesting scripter, though that's no draw across the world when Del Toro is filming next fucking door. Chris Eccleston is always fun, but much better on TV then in the movies (his UK TV stuff is awesome, even his Doctor Who performances). Walden Media have money, but not sense. Questions: a) what the fuck and b) who paid for the trip and c) why should the AINC readership care about this movie? This is an unheralded production, and to assume that we're interested on someone else's say so is somewhere between hubris and sellout. Justify yourself, my man...

  • May 15, 2007, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Ah, those were fun books.

    by epitone

    They held me rapt when I was about 11 or 12, and I look forward to seeing them on the big screen. That said, I wonder if there's really enough room for them now that the "British-accented kid discovers magical destiny" genre has become so overly saturated.

  • May 15, 2007, 4:25 p.m. CST


    by Crimean

    You are of course right, as that pretty much reflects my childhood when The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was still first. I only argue the opposite because of the reality that now when a 12 year old or whoever wanders into a bookstore and buys the 'now a major motion picture' collection of Narnia that LLW is 107 pages in from the front cover. Not a particularly important point anyway but I just wanted to be clear. I do want to see this, I'll just have to do it with the mental wall up that separates it from comparative judgement.

  • May 15, 2007, 4:57 p.m. CST

    The books, they

    by VenkmanBurnInHell

    Scared the fish fingers out of me. If this is good, and I'm not too hopeful, then I'll be there.

  • May 15, 2007, 5:11 p.m. CST


    by andrew1911uk

    Just a hint in Harry's report that the Will Stanton character won't be English as in the books, but rather American? Wouldn't be surprised at this, given the need to drum up the film as the next HP-esque franchise, but it would be a shame. Incidently, the choice of casting for Ian McShane's character - Merriman Lyon (Merlin) - could be absolutely spot on, if he treats it with more of a Deadwood slant than Lovejoy! Excellent books tho - I can thoroughly recommend them if you'd like to give your kids a proper bed time story! Pagan magic, Welsh legends, King Arthur - the Welsh Tourist board will be upset it's filmed in Romania.

  • May 15, 2007, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Books were amazing, bet the film will be trash.

    by Lilana

    I loved this series of books when I was a child. Really great mix of English/Celtic mythology and strong story lines. I bet this movie wont do the books justice. That kid playing Will looks nothing like I imagined. Also some of the books had really creepy moments which I'd be surprised a movie like this will capture.

  • May 15, 2007, 5:39 p.m. CST

    WTF? "The right actors for their characters"???

    by Merriman Lyon

    How could you possibly know, Harry - you haven't read the books. I have, and I can tell you right away that Eccleston and McShane are completely wrong for these characters as described in the books. Merriman is an old, lean, grey-haired wizard (pretty much an older, quieter, wiser version of Gandalf the Grey) - not a dark, "brooding" ham bulldog like McShane. Eccleston's dark rider is something more along the lines of The Mouth Of Sauron in LOTR - not a young fellow wearing black feathers!. And casting is just ONE of the errors made by this (clearly half-baked) production. Will is described in the book as being eleven years old - not fourteen. His age has a deliberate significance for the logic of the book - obviously that subplot will now have to be dropped, since they've decided that he's fourteen for some reason. His father is NOT a physics professor: he is a goldsmith/jeweller - also important to the story (another subplot that will have to dropped for no good reason). Will harbours no feelings of any kind towards girls in the book - he's too young at the start - and by the end has become an "Old One" who is on a level far beyond being interested in trivial romance. But this issue is never raised in the book - nor did it never need to be, because it's completely irrelevant to the story! Why are the film-makers bothering to say they are adapting TDIR at all? They clearly have no intention of sticking to the spirit of the book. They've decided to change it into another standard, boring "coming-of-age-with-magic" Hollywood movie. The Dark Is Rising is a chilling little novel, full of suspense, foreboding and black magic. It would make a great movie - but this clearly isn't it. Not the way you describe it, Harry.

  • May 15, 2007, 5:42 p.m. CST


    by zb.brox

    Fair enough, it's just one of those things that's a pet peeve of mine--Frankly, I think any kid who ends up reading The Magician's Nephew first is missing out, as the introduction to Narnia in Wardrobe is a really magical, mysterious kind of thing, and having all those questions answered in Magician's Nephew before you even know to ask them is a real copout, I think.

  • May 15, 2007, 5:45 p.m. CST

    Oh. Dear. God.

    by Merriman Lyon

    I've just realised: From Harry's post, it would appear that Will, the main character is now.......... American!!!! WTF?!!! This is an English book about a young English boy! Imagine if Harry Potter or Frodo had been played as American teenagers in their movies..... The mind boggles. This is clearly a movie to avoid if you liked the books.

  • May 15, 2007, 7:50 p.m. CST

    Where's the Jerry Falwell talkback?

    by theBigE

    Just wondering!

  • May 15, 2007, 8:02 p.m. CST


    by zb.brox

    That was a pretty interesting article, and I'm impressed with the author for managing to come off as relatively objective while writing. However, I am as yet unconvinced that the fact that most of the founding fathers had some degree of respect for the ideas of the Judeo-Christian religion is good enough reason to present that religion as primary within the states. If nothing else, this article also proves that Deism was a strong influence on the founding of the country as well--should we present the idea that Judeo-Christianity is wrong and that nay God there is is removed and never revealed his will to anyone in the same light? <br><br> Oh, and as for why creationism can't be taught alongside evolution in school: Because evolution is taught in science class, and creationism isn't science. I certainly learned about Christianity in my school, but it was in a class where we discussed comparative religion. That's where religion belongs, right?

  • May 15, 2007, 9:35 p.m. CST


    by zb.brox

    The problem is that teaching creationism alongside evolution in a science class implies that creationism has a factual basis, which it doesn't. It also achieves the religiously-driven goal of weakening the argument for evolution in the minds of our children--when evolution is virtually iron clad, whatever creationists may try to say. You can't compare and contrast theories, because creationsim doesn't have any kind of "theory"--it's only idea is "things are too complex, someone must've amde them." Not science, not even related to science, and stands ins tark contrast to what we know about evolution. <br><br> The comparison of Marxism to history class is pretty bad, no offense meant: Marxism was a philosophy that had a definite impact on history. Creationism isn't even *realted* to science--would you consider it appropriate for a teacher to teach a belief in how women should be treated according to Sharia law in a history class as an alternative to the Women's rights movement?

  • May 16, 2007, 1:13 a.m. CST

    Who paid for the trip???

    by Horace Cox

    I know harry isn't a true journalist, but he should make clear who paid for this trip for Romania. If AICN paid for the trip I would respect his unmitigated praise for this project more. However, I suspect that as in the past this junket was paid for by the studio. That doesn't necessarily mean that Harry's opinions and objectivity can be bought if you give him the benefit of the doubt, but it gives the appearance of a conflict of interest - that conflict being his ability to give an unbiased and uncompromised report. Therefore, Harry should be obligated to be upfront in each atricle and divulge who paid for or sponsored tthe trip. The readers of AICN deserve a little respect. That said, I'm sure Harry will love the fuck out of everything because he always does no matter how miserable a piece of shit it is. Anyway, enjoy Romania big red and have a safe trip home.

  • May 16, 2007, 1:25 a.m. CST

    This is a very PAGAN series

    by Sepulchrave

    Only once does the Christian Church try to intervene in the whole Celtic battle between Light and Dark, and it fails miserably. The Dark is associated with mindless violence, selfishness, bigotry and fear. The Light with loyalty, community, artistic creation and learning. It's nice. But Walden...their movies have all been a little garish and shiny so far; they don't really have the feel for the Celtic colour palette; all that blue and gold in Narnia got quite wearing and nothing looked lived-in or worn. Shot in Romania? Very good. Trainspotting scriptwriter? EXCELLENT. Original books? Very finely written (NOT Eragon)? Constant babble about religion on every talkback to feature a fantasy movie? Fucking stupid and dead boring.

  • May 16, 2007, 1:28 a.m. CST

    Oh and Ecclestone is Okay for the black Rider.

    by Sepulchrave

    Who was NOT a monster with razor teeth and no eyes, but a tall raw-boned man with piecing blue eyes and red hair. He comes marching into the Stantons' house on Christmas Day, after all, without too much comment from the rest of Will's family. Ian McShane is not my idea of Merriman but he's become such a very good actor that I'll bend a point.

  • May 16, 2007, 5:30 a.m. CST


    by Merriman Lyon

    Sorry: should have made it clear that I was referring to the Mouth Of Sauron as written by Tolkien in the book - not the film version that Peter Jackson put together: and I was trying to explain to people who haven't read TDIR the type of nastinesss this character posesses. Eccleston is far too young - and I'm afraid that his feather Boa says more "Drag Queen" to me than Sinister Agent of Evil.

  • May 16, 2007, 6:49 a.m. CST

    Eccleston's tooy oung for the Rider?

    by zb.brox

    Funny, I thought he was too old for the Rider if anything. Him being immortal and all, I always pictured the Rider as more of a pretty-boy. But, y'know, whatever, Eccleston rules so I'm liking the idea of him playing the part.

  • May 16, 2007, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Risky Business

    by BeyondStatic

    Well, reading the books in jr. high I thought "could make a cool movie". Now, having studied and grown up I think "RISKY". A) McShane in big movie - can't wait! But don't know that this is the best place to start. B) Narnia, Terabithia, Zathura, Stardust, Golden Compass, Harry Potter, the youth-geared fantasy market is oversaturated right now. C) The books almost cry for a PG-13. This seems to be designed PG. D) Saving money on a director... RISKY! Sometimes gambles pay off. But a far-less-known-than-Narnia-or-Potter property is a tough sell to begin with. Throw it into an oversaturated market and you have a recipe for being overlooked.

  • May 16, 2007, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Well, it'll probably do well in the UK...

    by zb.brox

    What with being set in Britain and having Doctor Who as the main villain. Of course, they may well be annoyed by the bizarre decision to apparently have the main character and his family be American...

  • May 16, 2007, 9:05 a.m. CST


    by Automaton Overlord

    So, Harry flies to some place where every one talks like Dracula, wolfs down some "turkish delight" or something, and says this big budget fantasy film looks kind of cool. I don't see how that makes him a shill. please explain.

  • May 16, 2007, 9:11 a.m. CST

    The most amazing part of this article

    by SithMenace

    is that Harry went to college. <p>Just kidding Harry.

  • May 16, 2007, 11:56 a.m. CST

    Harry's objectivity....

    by Merriman Lyon

    Harry, you MUST declare which studio (if any) is paying for your trip as this impacts on the credibility of your reporting. Your report on The Dark Is Rising is unequivocally positive - for no good reason, as far as I can tell: you haven't read the books and you haven't yet seen the finished film. There's nothing wrong with receiving gifts from studios, but you must declare it if you want us to take your opinions at face value.

  • May 16, 2007, 12:40 p.m. CST

    i didn't even realize...

    by occula

    upon first reading that the main character is apparently not english. i have to say my disappointment at susan cooper OK'ing any of this is nearly epic. one of the great authors of my life, an inspiration for all the works i've done in illustration and film, and she thinks it's OK to have her work bastardized like's giving me somewhat more respect for julie taymor's hissy fit about 'across the universe'. madeline l'engle allowing that ghey-assed MOW version of 'a wrinkle in time' was marginally less egregious but at least they didn't eliminate major plot points in the book. maybe i'll just pretend this adaptation isn't happening at all.

  • May 16, 2007, 12:42 p.m. CST


    by occula

    i should qualify my pissiness at the author with the assumption that cooper permitted somebody to option her work with no provisos in the deal for her involvement in decision-making. she should have taken a meeting with j.k. rowling first!

  • May 16, 2007, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Five books, one movie?

    by minderbinder

    I've always wanted to see these made into movies, and Walden has done some OK stuff, but this one has me worried. I loved the first book, , are they just skipping it or combining multiple books into one movie? Greenwitch is a bit thin and could get rolled into a combo, but trying to do all five in one movie would be too much. I don't see Bran listed in the cast list, maybe they're planning on 3 or 4 movies, like Narnia. So which other series did Walden start with the second book? It's not Narnia, since LLW was released first, Magician's Nephew was a "prequel" released years later.

  • May 16, 2007, 3:20 p.m. CST


    by zb.brox

    My guess is they'll abandon the other kids almost entirely and do a 3-movie deal with TDISR-The Grey King-Silver on the Tree. It certainly seems like this film is only the second book.

  • May 16, 2007, 4:28 p.m. CST

    I was in Bucharest for five minutes

    by MrCere

    When a 19-year-old said to me, "Wanna fuck American man?" I declined. I bet Harry is having the time of his life! In all seriousness, I LOVED Romania and Bucharest. I am insanely jealous.

  • May 16, 2007, 4:35 p.m. CST

    I should clarify . . .

    by MrCere

    The street walker in question was addressing me as "American man" not giving me a option to be with one. Sadly, a 14-year-old offered to blow me the cold 3 a.m. morning I was leaving. I bought her a hamburger and fries at the 24-hour McDonalds. I suspect Bucharest has some social problems but all the wild canines are mostly gone now.

  • May 16, 2007, 8:15 p.m. CST

    No shit given

    by The Artist FKA Vesuvio

    to this movie, Harry or Romania.

  • May 16, 2007, 9 p.m. CST

    Suspend judgement

    by Bibliographer

    Just got back from Romania, and it's a terrific place -- beautiful country, nice people, lots of problems. The orginal Susan Cooper books are terrific -- hope the film doesn't get lost in an oversaturated genre market, but here's hoping it's worthwhile on its own terms. Bit early to tell, though.

  • May 17, 2007, 11:05 p.m. CST

    Hold on. This guy directed "Path to 9/11"

    by Lighthouse

    Didn't that suck?

  • May 18, 2007, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Why make Will an American and 14?

    by john the brief

    What possible purpose can it serve? Is it just a gratuitous piece of vandalism of the books? How can it not fuck up the material? It sound slike Walden have bought nothing more than the title and concept and are going to produce a travesty of their own design. If I'm wrong I'll be delighted, but I've loved these books for 25 years and I'm seriously pissed off to see them butchered like this

  • May 18, 2007, 10:53 a.m. CST

    The only fantasy movie I want to see is...

    by Frank Black

    One with hot sword wielding lesbians who take breaks slaying dragons to get hot and sweaty with each other. Seriously though, haven't the kiddies had enough fantasy thrown their way? I remember movies like Excalibur and Conan and a slew of horrible 80's sword and sorcery movies where tits and ass and violence shared the screen comfortably and there were movies like that for adults and movies like Dragon Slayer and Ladyhawke for us kids. I too like to watch where my money goes and Walden media gets ZERO dollars! I loved the Lion, witch, wardrobe books but after being dragged to the movie I finally put my foot down. No More! No f*cking More!!! Harry should enjoy a free trip on Walden Media so long as he doesn't soft sell how much this movie sucks if it ends up sucking. Wake me when there is a fantasy movie with a naked Jessica Alba riding a dragon while going down on Mandy Moore.

  • May 18, 2007, 12:37 p.m. CST

    sad fantasy series news

    by m2298

    Lloyd Alexander author of the Prydain books just died at age 83.

  • May 18, 2007, 12:49 p.m. CST

    YES! Finally this fantastic series is being made!

    by TheGhostWhoLurks

    Loved reading The Grey King when I finally got around to opening it as a teenager (My folks got it for me when I turned 10, but it sat on a shelf for years, while I read comics!). However, it's much less "Narnia" in feel, than it is "A Wrinkle in Time."<p>Still, it's a phenomonal story, and hopefully, will be done justice in the theatre.

  • May 18, 2007, 3:06 p.m. CST

    McShane is just awesome.

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Where the Hell are the two 2 hour episodes of Deadwood season 4 dammit?

  • May 18, 2007, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Frank Black

    by Stuntcock Mike

    One with hot sword wielding lesbians who take breaks slaying dragons to get hot and sweaty with each other. ..............Dude, I've got that mural on the side of my van.

  • May 18, 2007, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Stuntcock Mike...

    by Frank Black


  • May 20, 2007, 2:29 a.m. CST

    Why? Why?

    by cherryofcupcake

    Have they wrecked it? The Dark Is Rising is one of the greatest fantasy series going: dark, intelligent, fascinating. I don't understand why they've changed so many key elements. Nor have they bothered to get the casting right. Gutting. Oh, and it's one of the least Christian stories I've seen. In one key scene in the book, the Christian church is shown to be totally useless against the Dark.

  • May 20, 2007, 11:38 a.m. CST

    I don't get it...

    by plastroncafe

    ...why decide to make a film of something and then totally ignore the source material?

  • May 20, 2007, 11:17 p.m. CST

    o no!!

    by occula

    i didn't see the bit about lloyd alexander until just now! like susan cooper, he was so seminal in this genre...but with a sense of fact, one of my most precious books is a new copy of 'the black cauldron' signed by him. i got it at the book expo last year - they said he was supposed to be there, but was too frail. so sad. i'm sure it's only a matter of time before somebody says 'let's butcher that guy's stuff too!' (begging the pardon of the goofy disney animation from the 80s) a truly marvelous author.

  • July 2, 2007, 2:28 p.m. CST

    unseen footage?

    by thedark1srising

    Everyone already knows this movie will be over the top! Here's a link I found the other day while looking for some extra footage. Evidently the film makers and interns were being filmed there selves this entire time!