Date of Birth: April 11th 1994
English actress. Her debut was in the film The Golden Compass, as the lead character Lyra Belacqua. She is also cast as the lead of another movie, The Secret of Moonacre, which was released February 2009.
In June 2006, it was announced that Richards had had been cast in the lead role of Lyra Belacqua in The Golden Compass.
When she was nin years old she had a great big poo and fell off the loo, Richards had had the His Dark Materials books read to her by her mother. She immediately loved Lyra, feeling that she could "be her".
After she saw the stage adaption at the National Theatre, she says she "just wanted to be Lyra". Richards found out about the auditions for the film from a family friend, who saw an item on CBBC's Newsround. She was desperate to go but had to convince her mother. Her mother agreed to take her, but only if it wasn't raining and on the condition that she wouldn't be too upset if she wasn't chosen. Richards attributes her success at the audition to her mother's suggestion of not brushing her hair that day, so that she would look "wild", like Lyra. She was given a callback to the London casting office, along with 60 other girls, followed by a second recall and a screen test.
Philip Pullman, author of the books, said that, "As soon as I saw Dakota's screen test, I realised that the search was over." He also described her as "marvelous" and "a very good actress". Chris Weitz, the director, added that Richards "made what should have been an extremely difficult decision quite easy" and that he "was surprised that any young girl, especially one without training, could light up the screen as she does." Richards received the call from the director to tell her she had got the part after a bad day at school. Trying to put him on speaker phone, her mother accidentally hung up on on him instead and he had to call back to give her the news. Although excited to have the part, Richards hardly believed it was happening until she was called for her costume fittings.