When fans saw the film Logan for the first time, it was clear there was something special about Dafne Keen, who played Laura Kinna aka X-23. While she didn’t have a lot to say, it was clear there was some talent there that could serve her well in the industry if she pursued it. And pursue she did, as she now plays Lyra Belacqua in the BBC/HBO series His Dark Materials.
Though while she is the current interpretation of the character, she’s not the first. That honor goes to Dakota Blue Richards, who played her in the ill-fated The Golden Compass, which adapted the first novel in the Philip Pullman trilogy. Speaking with the His Darker Materials podcast, Richards discussed what Keen has brought to the character of Lyra.
“I think the biggest difference for me watching it between myself and Dafne is she… firstly she’s a little bit older than I was at that age. She’s 14, I was like 11 or 12, and at that age a couple of years makes a world of difference.”
Age isn’t the only difference. When Richards took on the role in 2007, she hadn’t had any acting experience. This obviously isn’t the case with Keen.
“But also she is a professional actress, she’s well proved her talent well before coming on board this project. So her approach to it is much more considered, and there’s a maturity to her portrayal of Lyra that probably wasn’t in mine, but I think that’s because I was younger, but I had no acting experience and I had no sense of the world I was getting myself into. So I see them as quite different, but maybe other people don’t, I don’t know.”
And, of course, there’s also the medium to consider. In His Dark Materials, there’s a lot more time to portray that depth, which The Golden Compass didn’t have, as it had to tell the whole story in a fraction of the time.
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