Anand Tucker is in talks with New Line to direct The GoldenCompass, the firstinstalment of Philip Pullman's children's fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials.

According to sources a formal offer has been sent out to Tucker,however his participation had not been confirmed at time of writing.

If the deal goes ahead this will be the biggest project by far forthe Thailand-born British director, whose credits include Hilary And Jackie and the upcoming Steve Martin adaptation Shopgirl, which is due to be released throughBuena Vista on Oct 21.

Chris Weitz was previously attached to direct but had becomeincreasingly concerned over the technical challenges involved in bringing thestory to the screen and left the project last December.

The project remains in its very early stages and a release is notexpected until late 2007 at the earliest. Tucker needs to work on a rewrite ofTom Stoppard's original screenplay, and cast and crew are yet to be signed.

The GoldenCompass centres on theadventures of an 11-year-old English girl called Lyra who is called upon tosolve the mystery of vanishing children.