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HIS DARK MATERIALS director has been picked!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with the big trades break of the day. New Line is in negotiations with Anand Tucker (upcoming Steve Martin starrer THE SHOP GIRL) to direct the first flick of HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy called THE GOLDEN COMPASS. The word on the adaptation isn't a good one, with them cutting all the "God" stuff out... I'm not familiar with the books, but I'm told that's rather crucial... it'd be like making the LORD OF THE RINGS without the one ring. I don't like seeing a shitty movie, though, and based on the Hollywood Reporter's snippit it looks like Tucker's got a passion for this film. Either that or it's a huge, huge pay day. Either way, he seems to have given it his all to get the job and I'm hoping for the best. Here's the story from the Hollywood Reporter!

Anand Tucker is in negotiations to direct "The Golden Compass," the feature film adaptation of the first installment of author Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy for New Line Cinema. Chris Weitz, who adapted the book, was slated to direct but withdrew in December, and the search for his replacement encompassed more than 50 filmmakers. The studio went with Tucker in part because the helmer put together a presentation that included conceptual art, visual effects demos and a 20-page director's manifesto. Tucker also had extensive meetings with Pullman as well as Weitz. Tucker and Weitz will now work together to further develop the film's screenplay. The big-budget project will be a mammoth undertaking for the award-winning Tucker, who is known for character-oriented work, such as 1998's "Hilary and Jackie" and the upcoming "Shopgirl."

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