His Dark Materials

We’ve now learned that leading lady Dafne Keen (‘Logan’) is why the first two seasons of the BBC and HBO‘s collaboration on ‘His Dark Materials’ was shot back to back. The news came from executive producer Jane Tranter who stressed that a year can be “a long time” for a 14-year-old who is growing. We’ve already seen how quickly the kids from ‘Stranger Things’ have been changing off-camera and having to keep them as similar as possible for a story that doesn’t take years to tell could be a tricky proposition. Especially, as the first season is based on ‘The Golden Compass’ while the second is following the sequel novel ‘The Subtle Knife’ and only hours pass between the end of the first book and the start of the second.

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According to Tranter:

“Suddenly they’re six inches taller, and they’re a different shape, and their voices are different. Our feeling was we really couldn’t leave more than a very small gap between the end of when Dafne Keen finished filming, which was December 2018, and when she started again July 2019. That was basically the biggest gap that we could possibly do and still have her come back and convincingly look like it was moments, hours later [in season 2]. The BBC and HBO very kindly said, ‘Let’s make 16 episodes across the two books and go for it.’ So, I consider it more of a staggered, large first commitment rather than, ‘Oooh! Here’s two seasons up front.'”

Honestly, to tell the story correctly, this really makes sense to do. In a show that follows adults it is easy to stop filming for 6-months or longer and appear to have had little time pass but with children or young adults in this case who are still growing it can be a completely different scenario. A voice change or growth spurt can throw a character’s look or persona entirely out of wack when it comes to continuity over something meant to take place in a short period of time.


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Are you glad that the series decided to shoot the first two seasons of ‘His Dark Materials’ one after the other? Do you think they could have pulled off the story to be as believable had they left Dafne Keen’s potential growth spurts up to chance? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

‘His Dark Materials’ premiers on the BBC on Sunday, November 3, and on HBO, on Monday, November 4.


Source: Entertainment Weekly