Nicole Kidman has signed on to star in the drama fantasy The Golden Compass for New Line Cinema.

She'll play the villainous and glamorous Mrs. Coulter, says Variety, in the film adaptation of the first part of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Chris Weitz has written the screenplay and will be directing. British newcomer Dakota Blue Richards has already been cast for the lead role of Lyra Belacqua, who travels to a parallel universe to battle the forces of evil and rescue her best friend.

Shooting for The Golden Compass is set to begin in September at London's Shepperton Studios; a November 16, 2007 release has been scheduled.