Sam Elliott Addressed Controversial Debate Surrounding His Film, ‘The Golden Compass’

by Quentin Blount
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When actor Sam Elliott first commissioned the film, The Golden Compass, religious groups were outraged. They saw the 2007 film as a direct attack on organized religion — particularly Catholicism.

Sam Elliott grew up in California going to church and even singing in his church’s choir. But those past experiences didn’t get him off the hook for The Golden Compass. Back in 2007, he finally spoke out to Sactown Magazine — one of the most well-respected outlets in the entire city of Sacramento — about how the movie took a lot of heat from religious folks across the U.S.

“There have been some negative comments written about it in regards to the religious aspects or overtones or themes, however you want to classify them,” the Academy Award nominee said.

For those who don’t know, The Golden Compass is based on the first in a series of children’s books by Philip Pullman. The books drew fire as well from Christian groups for referencing an entity called “The Church” that kidnaps children and steals their souls. The Catholic League even went as far as to issue a boycott of the movie.

“I’m just not going to go there. Why bother?” Elliott told Sactown. “To me, the religious aspect was one of the most intriguing and provocative things about the books. Why water it down? Why be afraid of it? Just be honest and true to the books. It’s not like Philip Pullman is the devil, that he’s advocating some anti-Christian life. I think he has such incredible things to say about love, honor, and friendship.”

Nicole Kidman Joins Sam Elliott in Defense of ‘The Golden Compass’

Meanwhile, one of the most notable stars in The Golden Compass is Nicole Kidman. She plays Marisa Coulter in Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and is the main villain in Northern Lights.

The American-born Australian actress has received numerous awards and accolades during her career. She is also one of the highest-paid actresses in the world. Oh, and she is also Catholic. She said herself that The Golden Compass is not “anti-Catholic.” She has been quoted a number of times saying, “I’m Catholic. If this movie was anti-Catholic I wouldn’t be in it.”

In the end, Sam Elliott thinks it all boils down to too many people with “big mouths.”

“I think it’s just a lot of people wanting to have something to say,” Elliott continued. “There are too many big mouths who think they have all of the answers, you know what I mean? We’re in the entertainment business, and this movie is entertainment. It’s pretty simple as far as I’m concerned.”

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