The Secret of Moonacre (2008)

The Secret of Moonacre 2008tt0396707.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: The Secret of Moonacre (2008)
  • Rate: 6.0/10 total 3,252 votes 
  • Genre: Adventure | Family | Fantasy | Romance
  • Release Date: 6 February 2009 (Ireland)
  • Runtime: 103 min
  • Filming Location: Budapest, Hungary
  • Budget: $12,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: £873,910(UK)(15 March 2009)
  • Director: Gabor Csupo
  • Stars: Ioan Gruffudd, Dakota Blue Richards and Tim Curry
  • Original Music By: Christian Henson   
  • Plot Keyword: Good Deed | Children | Horse | Castle | Forest

Writing Credits By:

  • Lucy Shuttleworth  screenplay &
  • Graham Alborough  screenplay and
  • Elizabeth Goudge  book "The Little White Horse"

Known Trivia

  • Was originally slated for a 2008 release.
  • Dakota Blue Richards was 13 when she got cast in The Secret of Moonacre. The auditions only lasted a day. By the time The Golden Compass premiered, which was her previous film, The Secret of Moonacre had already been filmed.
  • Dakota Blue Richards hadn’t read The Little White Horse, the book the film is based upon, when she got the part of Maria. She read it while on the flight to Hungary to film the book.
  • The Secret of Moonacre hasn’t screened theatrically in the US for two years since the film’s original premiere.
  • Much of The Secret of Moonacre was filmed in Hungary, but some scenes were filmed in England.
  • The title was changed after the producers ran an Internet poll. The Secret of Moonacre was a more popular title then the book’s The Little White Horse.
  • Four dogs play the character of Wrolf. They all had their fur dyed so they looked identical, and each dog had it own talents. One was particularly good at barking, another at licking, one at running and one was good at just lying around.
  • It had been arranged for a real lion to be used in filming, and to be dyed black. However the insurance costs required for filming actors with a real lion were astronomical, so a digital lion was a much cheaper option.
  • Dakota Blue Richards did most of her own stunts. She did have an adult stunt double, but the director decided she did a much better job herself.

Plot: When 13 year old Maria Merryweather's father dies, leaving her orphaned and homeless, she is forced… See more »  »

Story: When 13 year old Maria Merryweather's father dies, leaving her orphaned and homeless, she is forced to leave her luxurious London life to go and live with Sir Benjamin, an eccentric uncle she didn't know she had, at the mysterious Moonacre Manor. Soon Maria finds herself in a crumbling moonlit world torn apart by the hatred of an ancient feud with the dark and sinister De Noir family. Maria discovers that she is the last Moon Princess and, guided by an unlikely mix of allies, she must overcome her family's pride in order to unearth the secrets of the past before the 5000th moon rises and Moonacre disappears into the sea forever.Written by Monica Penders  


Synopsis: The story follows the exploits of thirteen-year-old orphan Maria Merryweather (Dakota Blue Richards), whose sole inheritance from her father is a book. This is no ordinary tome, however in Maria’s hands, its ancient story comes alive. The book chronicles an age-old rivalry between the Merryweather and De Noir families over a set of magical pearls, and as Maria delves into the mysterious tale, she finds herself fantastically entangled in the bitter feud.

Left penniless by her father’s death, Maria has no choice but to leave the city and live with her taciturn uncle, Sir Benjamin Merryweather, at his isolated country estate in Moonacre Valley. On her way to her new home with her caretaker Miss Heliotrope, Maria’s carriage is attacked by Robin, the De Noir family’s teenaged son. Although she is unharmed, the incident gives Maria a frightening taste of the animosity between the two clans. Having spent the night at her tower, Maria has been surrounded by magic, the stars on the ceiling of her room falls, one by one. She also noticed that the house seemed falling apart. She qestions her uncle, but she was reprimanded not to enter the forest.

When Maria arrives at the Merryweather property, her uncle spies the unusual book in her possession, and immediately confiscates it. With the help of the estate’s resourceful chef, however, Maria relocates the book and continues reading, finally discovering the weight of her responsibility: she has been anointed the last Moon Princess of the valley. It is up to her to find the magic pearls before the next full moon and end the conflict between the two families. If she fails in her quest, the dark curse following the Merryweather family will destroy Moonacre Valley for good. But is this a challenge Maria is ready to accept? [D-Man2010]

{tab=FullCast & Crew}

Produced By:

  • David Brown known as executive producer
  • Michael Cowan known as producer
  • Simon Crowe known as executive producer
  • Jim Davey known as associate producer
  • Brian Donovan known as line producer
  • Simon Fawcett known as executive producer
  • Meredith Garlick known as producer
  • Samuel Hadida known as producer
  • Victor Hadida known as executive producer
  • Matthew Joynes known as executive producer
  • Alex Marshall known as executive producer
  • Péter Miskolczi known as co-producer
  • Monica Penders known as producer
  • Jason Piette known as producer
  • Lucy Shuttleworth known as associate producer
  • Jennifer Smith known as executive producer
  • Kaspar Strandskov known as executive producer
  • Gábor Váradi known as co-producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Dakota Blue Richards known as Maria Merryweather
  • Juliet Stevenson known as Miss Heliotrope
  • Tim Curry known as Coeur De Noir
  • Tamás Tóth known as Vicar
  • Augustus Prew known as Robin De Noir
  • György Szathmári known as Lawyer (as György Szatmari)
  • Natascha McElhone known as Loveday
  • Ioan Gruffudd known as Sir Benjamin Merryweather / Sir Wrolf Merryweather
  • George Mendel known as Priest (as György Mendel)
  • Michael Webber known as Digweed
  • Szabolcs Csák known as Henry
  • Lurko known as Wrolf the Dog
  • Zoltán Markovits known as David
  • Marcell Tóth known as Richard
  • Zoltán Barabás Kis known as Dulac (as Zoltán Barabás Kiss)
  • Andy Linden known as Marmaduke Scarlet
  • Csador known as The Little White Horse
  • Sandor Istvan Nagy known as Coeur De Noir's Man (uncredited)
  • Oliver Simor known as Wedding Guest (uncredited)
  • Ferenc Vizes known as English Worker (uncredited)

..{tab=Supporting Department}Makeup Department:

  • Lynda Armstrong known as hair designer
  • Lynda Armstrong known as makeup designer
  • Amy Byrne known as makeup artist
  • Nana Fischer known as key hair stylist
  • Katalin Jakots known as makeup artist

Art Department:

  • Daniel Alexandru known as sculptor: All Deco International
  • Roxana Alexandru known as draughtperson
  • István Bártfai known as set dresser
  • Nagy Dora known as art production assistant
  • Douglas Ingram known as storyboard artist
  • Bela Kerek known as visual concept artist
  • József Kiss known as construction manager
  • Magdi Kondorosi known as buyer
  • Péter Koronghy known as set dresser
  • Moni Kovacs known as prop master assistant
  • Warren Lever known as construction manager: UK
  • Csaba Lodi known as sculptor
  • Liviu Marcu known as sculptor: All Deco International
  • Szalay Marton known as set dresser
  • Dora Nagy known as art production assistant
  • Cenay Oekmen known as matte painter
  • Antony Parnell known as props
  • Steve Parnell known as property master
  • Szilvia Ritter known as assistant art director
  • Kinga Szabó known as art department production assistant
  • Villõ Turcsány known as sculptor
  • István Váradi known as set dresser
  • Philip Clark known as picture researcher (uncredited)


Production Companies:

  • Forgan-Smith Entertainment
  • Australian Film Commission, The
  • Eurofilm Stúdió
  • Grand Allure Entertainment
  • Metropolitan Filmexport
  • Sensible Films
  • South Pacific Pictures
  • Spice Factory
  • UK Film Council

Other Companies:

  • Sparks  camera equipment provided by
  • Sparks  grip and lighting equipment
  • Abacus Consult  accounting: audit
  • All Deco International  sculptures
  • Bonded Services  production storage
  • Dead  post-production
  • Gearbox Sound and Vision  additional ProTools systems supplied by
  • Lip Sync Post  film scanning and digital intermediate
  • Look, The  post-production facilities
  • Milk Publicity  publicity
  • MovieScore Media  soundtrack
  • Sapex Scripts  post-production script services
  • Technicolor  release printing


  • Intersonic (2009) (Czech Republic) (theatrical)
  • Londra Films P&D (2011) (Bolivia) (theatrical)
  • Metropolitan Filmexport (2009) (France) (theatrical)
  • RCV Film Distribution (2009) (Belgium) (theatrical)
  • RCV Film Distribution (2009) (Luxembourg) (theatrical)
  • RCV Film Distribution (2009) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Warner Bros. (2009) (UK) (theatrical)
  • Cinestar (2009) (Philippines) (all media)
  • E1 Entertainment
  • Hungaricom Kft (2009) (Hungary) (all media)
  • Imagem Filmes (2009) (Brazil) (all media)
  • Quality Films (2009) (Mexico) (all media)
  • RCV Home Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Scanbox Entertainment (2009) (Finland) (all media)
  • Seven 7 / Metropolitan Filmexport (2009) (France) (DVD)
  • Seven 7 / Metropolitan Filmexport (2009) (France) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Showtime (2009) (South Korea) (all media)
  • Top Film (2009) (Russia) (DVD)
  • Warner Home Video (2009) (UK) (DVD)
  • Warner Home Video (2009) (UK) (DVD) (Blu-ray)

..{tab=Other Stuff}

Special Effects:

  • Baseblack
  • Lip Sync Post (visual effects)
  • Matte Painting (visual effects)
  • Peerless Camera Company (visual effects)

Visual Effects by:

  • Nick Bedford known as digital effects coordinator: Peerless Camera Co
  • Chris Bentley known as digital lab operator
  • Martin Body known as lead rotoscope artist: Peerless camera Co. Ltd.
  • Adam Buckner known as visual effects producer
  • Alberto Buron known as digital lab operator
  • Francesco Canonico known as character setup and animation
  • Tim Chauncey known as visual effects artist
  • James Clarke known as DI supervisor
  • Tom Collier known as visual effects supervisor: LipSync Post
  • Neil Culley known as digital compositor: LipSync Post
  • Martin R. Davison known as digital compositor: Baseblack
  • Catherine de Viana known as visual effects assistant
  • Max Dennison known as matte painting supervisor: Matte Painting UK Ltd
  • Gavin Digby known as lead compositor: Peerless
  • John Paul Docherty known as digital visual effects supervisor: Peerless
  • Ditch Doy known as head of CG: Peerless
  • Stefan Drury known as head of visual effects: LipSync Post
  • Yasmine El-Ghamrawy known as digital compositor
  • Erik Ellefsen known as digital artist
  • Stephen Elson known as visual effects producer: Baseblack
  • Sean Farrow known as visual effects supervisor
  • Laura Fitzpatrick known as visual effects production assistant: Peerless
  • Joss Flores known as digital compositor
  • Adam Gefen known as digital compositor
  • David Gibbons known as digital matte artist
  • Yanni Goudetsidis known as systems engineer: LipSync Post
  • Scott Goulding known as assistant colourist
  • Elysia Greening known as digital compositor: Baseblack
  • Crystal Hadcroft known as roto/paint artist: Peerless
  • Alexis Haggar known as title supervisor
  • Ed Hall known as digital effects coordinator: Peerless Camera Company
  • Ian Holland known as inferno artist: Peerless Camera Company
  • Katja Hollmann known as digital lab producer: Lipsync Post (as Katja Lazare)
  • Garrett Honn known as digital compositor: Baseblack
  • Nathan Kerry known as visual effects coordinator
  • Andrew Kingston known as systems admistrator
  • Duncan Kinnaird known as digital effects artist
  • Patrick Ledda known as lead technical director
  • Adrian Lee known as animator: Peerless Camera Company
  • Fabio Leporelli known as lead technical director
  • Richard Little known as supervisor
  • Vaibhav Marathe known as digital compositor
  • David Margolis known as digital compositor: LipSync Post
  • Aileen McIntosh known as digital lab operator
  • Oliver Minchin known as digital compositor: opening titles: DEAD
  • Thomas Müller known as technical director: Peerless
  • John O'Lone known as compositor: Peerless
  • Cenay Oekmen known as concept artist
  • Kevin Phelan known as head of post-production: Lip Sync Post
  • Ed Plant known as senior compositor: Peerless
  • Tim Pruce known as digital compositor: Peerless
  • Edward Randolph known as visual effects coordinator: Baseblack
  • Matthew Redding known as digital compositor: opening titles: DEAD
  • Angela Rose known as digital compositor: LipSync Post
  • Paul Round known as head of 2D: Peerless
  • Mark Sanger known as visual effects editor
  • Petra Schwane known as compositing artist: Baseblack
  • Deepa Sebastian known as visual effects administrator: Peerless Camera Company
  • Mark Spevick known as senior visual effects artist
  • Jon Stanley known as senior systems engineer: LipSync Post
  • Paul Venn Stirling known as digital compositor: LipSync Post
  • John Swinnerton known as senior compositor(Peerless Camera Company )
  • Emeline Tedder known as compositor: Peerless
  • Daniel Tomlinson known as digital lab operator
  • Samantha Tracey known as visual effects coordinator: LipSync Post
  • Jamie Tremelling known as visual effects artist: Peerless
  • Thomas Urbye known as promo colourist: The Look
  • Val Wardlaw known as cg supervisor
  • Blake Winder known as digital compositor: LipSync Post
  • Pat Wong known as senior compositor
  • Benjamin Müller known as vfx intern (uncredited)
  • Christopher T. Page known as vfx runner (uncredited)

Release Date:

  • Canada 6 September 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • UK 26 October 2008 (London Film Festival)
  • Ireland 6 February 2009
  • UK 6 February 2009
  • Germany 11 February 2009 (European Film Market)
  • Netherlands 12 February 2009
  • Belgium 18 February 2009
  • South Korea 19 February 2009
  • Philippines 18 March 2009
  • Poland 20 March 2009
  • Turkey 17 April 2009
  • France 13 May 2009
  • Czech Republic 11 June 2009
  • Italy 12 June 2009
  • Russia 18 June 2009
  • Ukraine 18 June 2009
  • Kazakhstan 9 July 2009
  • Hungary 19 November 2009
  • Japan 20 November 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Sweden 16 December 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Spain 2 July 2010
  • USA 12 August 2010 (limited)
  • Kuwait 19 August 2010
  • Mexico 20 August 2010
  • Germany 2 December 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Peru 25 December 2010

MPAA: Rated PG for some mild peril and language


Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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