Jack Thorne Talks “His Dark Materials” in New Interview

Jack Thorne has a whole host of impressive credits. Besides writing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, he’s also worked on National Treasure, Skins, and the new His Dark Materials series. The HBO show, based on Philip Pullman’s beloved novels, premieres this week, and it’s already receiving acclaim. Thorne spoke recently about adapting Pullman’s work as faithfully as possible:

Philip’s been the person who has created Lyra’s story, and I’m trying to be as faithful to her as he was. I’m trying to treasure the good stuff; all of it is beautiful, but there are some demands of the medium that mean that sometimes you have to step away. But I do it reluctantly, and I do it as faithfully as I possibly can.

Thorne says he and Pullman worked together tirelessly and that he conducted extensive research into the writer’s psyche:

Philip has got an incredible mind. And one of the things we tried to do was to sort of pick him up and shake him to get all the stories out. We would go there armed with different things we had taken from different bits of the story and go, ‘So what is the thread that connects these things?’ And he would tell us little unheard stories that had occurred in gaps of the chapters.

The story of His Dark Materials feels especially relevant to Thorne, who likens Lyra to teen climate activist Greta Thunberg:

We just saw today a protestor being removed from the streets without due process of law, and it was done quite openly by a group of people who felt they were entitled to do it, and they denied another group of people the right to protest. We live in scary times, and I think there’s so much in Philip’s book that’s about now and where we’re at now, even more than when he first wrote it. You know, Greta Thunberg, Lyra, there are quite a lot of similarities there. There’s so much from what we’re going through now that can be drawn on from these amazing books.

This isn’t his first adaptation, of course, but Thorne says that working with J.K. Rowling to write Cursed Child was markedly different from this show:

With Philip, my job is to serve the books. But with Jo, it was serving the characters – but 19 years later. I didn’t want to sound too desperate to be her friend.

Thorne has taken a truly beloved series and created a magical new production that feels perfect for today’s political climate. We can’t wait to see this show and to see what Jack Thorne’s next project will be.

His Dark Materials premieres on November 3 on HBO and stars Dafne Keen (Logan) as Lyra Belacqua, James McAvoy (Split) as Lord Asriel, and Ruth Wilson (Saving Mr. Banks) as Mrs. Coulter.

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Gayané Kaligian

Gayane has been writing about Harry Potter since the fourth grade, when she wrote her first five-paragraph essay on why Percy Weasley’s buffoonery could have led to Voldemort winning. These days, she’s still talking about the Weasley brothers, but it’s mostly about how overlooked Charlie is. In her free time, you can find her researching stunt choreography and geeking out over theater.