HOLLYWOOD has chosen a lesser known Briton to direct the first instalment of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials.
Anand Tucker came to attention with his 1998 debut, Hilary and Jackie, the low-budget biopic of the world-renowned classical cellist Jacqueline du Pr.
Since then, he has directed just one film, which is yet to be released, Shopgirl, starring Steve Martin and Claire Danes, about an aspiring artist who works at a department store.
According to the film bible Variety, Tucker was told he had got the job after winning over studio bosses with a presentation which included conceptual art, demonstrations of visual effects, and a 20-page outline of his film ideas.
His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass is being made by the Hollywood studio New Line Cinema, and the film will be its most expensive and ambitious since The Lord of the Rings, which became three of the biggest box office hits of all time.
Tucker, who has directed the ITV arts programme The Late Show, and recently produced the critically acclaimed Girl with a Pearl Earring, was among 50 directors interviewed for the movie, and his selection has come as a major surprise in industry circles.