Amini to pen second part of Pullman trilogy

New Line has hired Hossein Amini (“The Wings of the Dove”) to pen “The Subtle Knife,” the second part of Phillip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials.”

Move comes as New Line’s in the midst of a five-month shoot on Pullman’s “The Golden Compass” at Shepperton Studios in London. Chris Weitz is directing the $150 million “Compass” — to be released late this year — from his own script.

New Line president Toby Emmerich has continued to assert that the mini-major plans to shoot the second and third stories in Pullman’s trilogy, but only if the first performs well. But he also said this week that the hiring of Amini represents a significant commitment toward going ahead with the next film.

Amini’s currently penning “Drive” for U with Hugh Jackman attached to star and Marc Platt producing. Other credits include “Jude” and “The Four Feathers.”

Brit newcomer Dakota Blue Richards stars in “Compass” as 12-year-old Lyra Belacqua, who travels to a parallel universe to battle the forces of evil and rescue her best friend. Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Eva Green also star.

In “The Subtle Knife,” Pullman introduces the character of a 12-year-old boy who has learned the art of invisibility and is seeking his missing father when he encounters a vanishing cat and joins forces with Lyra Belacqua.

Pullman’s final book in the trilogy, “The Amber Spyglass,” won the U.K.’s 2001 Whitbred Prize for children’s book, then became the first kids’ book to win the Whitbred book of the year award.

Scholastic Media’s Debra Forte is producing “Compass” with line producer Bill Carraro.

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