Chris Weitz and His Pigeon Daemon Walk the Red Carpet

Photo: Photo Illustration: Getty Images

At last night's premiere of The Golden Compass at the Ziegfield, we couldn't help but ask the film's stars the question every lover of the books has asked herself: What animal would your daemon be? Some of the cast either haven't thought about it that much or still don't really get the concept of daemons. Sam Elliott, who plays mustached Texan Lee Scoresby, stuck to the script for his answer. “I’m happy with this rabbit that this Scoresby character’s got,” he drawled in the voice that launched a thousand Toyota Tundra commercials. And Eva Green claims her daemon would be a frog, because she's French.

But Dakota Blue Richards, who stars as the indomitable Lyra, has clearly spent a lot of time dwelling on her answer. “I’ve been telling people it would be a ring-tailed lemur or a hedgehog,” said the curly haired 13-year-old, “but after seeing the film I’ve fallen in love with Pan as a cat.” Why? “Because he’s just so cute!” And director and screenwriter Chris Weitz had the best response of all. “I would want it to be something glamorous, like a hawk,” he said. “But it’s actually a pigeon.” Why, pray tell? “I’m a New Yorker. A lot of pigeons in New York, and they always know how to find something to eat." —Candace Taylor