Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, has posted on his official website that Sam Elliot has been cast as Lee Scoresby in The Golden Compass, which arrives in theatres on December 7, 2007:

The film of The Golden Compass is progressing very well. I spent yesterday at the studios in Shepperton, meeting some of the cast, including Sam Elliott, who's playing Lee Scoresby. Sam's resemblance to the Lee in my mind is just astonishing. His Lee has all the presence, the experience, the battered integrity, the humour, and the courage of the aeronaut who first walked into my story thirteen years ago. I can`t imagine a better cast, and the sets and costumes are just astounding. They were filming the scene where Lyra approaches Iorek Byrnison at the gyptian camp and asks him to take her to the village near the lake, because the alethiometer has told her that there`s something she needs to see there. Dakota had to speak to the empty air, because Iorek, of course, is being constructed pixel by pixel in a computer somewhere; but his voice is provided by Nonso Anozie, and a better bear you`d have to go a long way to find.

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The first movie based on the bestselling Philip Pullman novels. The His Dark Materials trilogy is comprised of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. It revolves around a young girl who travels to the far north to save her best friend. Along the way she encounters shape-shifting creatures, witches, and a variety of otherworldly characters in parallel universes.