csaPre-production has taken another victim – Anand Tucker, director of Shopgirl, has left The Golden Compass, the film adaptation of the first book in Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy. The new director? Why, none other than Chris Weitz.

Yes, you read that right – Chris Weitz, who was attached to direct the film two years ago and dropped out because of the “technical challenges”, is back on again. It seems that Tucker left the production over “creative differences” with New Line.

What could those creative differences be? Well, back when Weitz was first directing the film, he wrote a draft of the script that left God out of things. I haven’t read the books, but my understanding is that this is a crucial element of the story, which I have had described to me as the anti-Chronicles of Narnia, when it comes to religion. Tucker had said that he fully intended to include Pullman’s irreligious message – could this be what came between him and the studio?

I also have to wonder what’s changed for Weitz since he dropped out of the project. How has he become more prepared for the technical challenges this work will present? And how much of Tucker’s pre-production will he keep? A bunch, I assume, since Tucker was working from Weitz’ script and New Line still wants this movie to hit in November of 2007.