An interview with Douglas Gresham, Narnia author C S Lewis’s step-son and executive producer for the Walden Media Chronicles of Narnia movie series, has made quite a stir.
The interview was published on YourStoryPodcast.com, an Australian website, earlier today (December 6, 2009). The interviewer was Ian Kath, who worked as a prop maker for the Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie.
The podcast is mostly about Gresham’s life, including his Christian philosophy, but some comments about the upcoming movie have some fans nervous about the direction the filmmakers are taking the story. When asked how the movie might be different than the book, Gresham had this to say:
Well, The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe was very close to the original book because the book was written in such a way that lent itself to being transcribed into the film medium. Prince Caspian we had to make some fairly major changes because the book isn’t written that way. In this movie there are a lot of differences in it also to, as Hollywood says, “derive the plot”. I’m ambivalent as to whether they’re necessary or not, I don’t really think so. But that’s the way they wanted to do it, and it was either that or not make a movie, so I said “Well, go ahead and do it.” It will be very interesting to see the audience’s reactions.
On NarniaFans.com, Brian Sibley, who adapted the Chronicles for BBC’s Radio4, left a comment that the “changes made to ‘Prince Caspian’ were enough for me, I shan’t be bothering with the ‘Dawn Treader’.” (Sibley has also written a couple books about Narnia – The Land of Narnia and The Treasury of Narnia.)
Paul Martin, who has run the NarniaFan.com site for several years, responded to Mr. Sibley:
I find the story that they are telling to be the story of the book, with a few minor additions to get the ball rolling, as well as to keep it PG-rated. I don’t think it’s a drastic re-ordering of sequences like with Prince Caspian. … This one stays much closer to the source material (in a Harry Potter / Lord of the Rings fashion) than did Caspian. I do agree that a book that’s been well loved for 57 years shouldn’t need much change for the big screen, and they haven’t done so much to it, that I have seen. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is being seen as a return to the magic of Narnia by all involved. They say that it has much more of a feel of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and stays much closer to the source material.
In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that Martin is involved in promoting the film; he also runs the official Facebook fan page. However, detractors such as Sibley seem not to understand what it takes to adapt a book into a movie.
Also mentioned in the podcast is that Gresham is pushing to have The Silver Chair made as the next movie if Dawn Treader meets with success.
To listen to the entire podcast on YourStoryPodcast.com, click here. Besides the information about Dawn Treader, the interview contains some great insights on Douglas Gresham and a few tidbits about C S Lewis.
For the report on NarniaFans.com, see ‘Your Story’ Interview with Douglas Gresham on Narnia Films.
There is also a discussion on NarniaWeb.com: Big Interview with Douglas Gresham