Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Movies: Blue's Purple Patch; Coming Soon: The Secret of Moonacre

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Movies: Blue's Purple Patch; Coming Soon: The Secret of Moonacre

Article excerpt

DAKOTA Blue Richards, the Brighton-based schoolgirl who shot to fame as Lyra in The Golden Compass, is working her magic again.

In her second fantasy film, auburn-haired Dakota stars alongside Ioan Gruffudd and Juliet Stevenson in THE SECRET OF MOONACRE, an adaptation of The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.

She plays the recently orphaned Maria Merryweather, whose sole inheritance is an illustrated book entitled The Secret Chronicles Of Moonacre.

When she is sent off to live with her reserved uncle (Gruffudd), Maria, a moon princess with magical powers, discovers the book provides a key to a past world and a secret that must be unlocked before the rising of the 5,000th moon.

Dakota admits she was instantly attracted to the role when she saw the film's working title, Moon Princess.

"Just the second I saw those words I thought, 'You can't really say you don't want to audition for something like that'.

"I think most young girls enjoy fantasy films. I don't find it that hard to imagine things. If I'm on my own I will just daydream about things," she says modestly.

Once the young star set her heart on the part, nothing could stand in her way.

"I flicked through the script, read the scene I had to learn, auditioned and got the part all in the same day," she laughs.

During our interview Dakota sits cross-legged in an armchair that dwarfs her tiny frame. She speaks eloquently and with a maturity that makes you forget that she is still only 14.

She says it was more than just fantasy that attracted her to The Golden Compass and The Secret Of Moonacre.

"These films both had strong female main characters. I like fantasy but I don't think that there are a lot of strong female characters around."

Not shy of a challenge, the teenager was determined to do as much of her own stunt work in the film as possible. …

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