Daniel Craig has signed on to star in the The Golden Compass for New Line Cinema.

The film is the first installment of the trilogy based on the Philip Pullman series His Dark Materials; Chris Weitz wrote the script and will direct the film. Variety reports Craig will play Lord Asriel, a ruthless and mysterious adventurer who is the uncle of Lyra Belacqua, the young girl who journeys to a parallel universe to save her best friend. If New Line goes forward with all three installments of Pullman's literary trilogy, Craig's character will be a fixture of each, based on Asriel's role in the Pullman books.

Joining Daniel Craig in the flick will be his Casino Royale co-star, Eva Green; she plays a witch who helps the young girl navigate a world filled with shape-shifting and otherworldly creatures. Also in the cast, Nicole Kidman and newcomer Dakota Blue Richards. 

The Golden Compass begins production Sept. 4 in the U.K.; a December, 2007 release has been scheduled.