Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Peter T Chattaway

Narnia: Pre-release discussion of LWW

Recommended Posts

Not quite sure how to interpret such a statement. Normally when someone does an adaptation they say it will be faithful to the book, and then the book's devotees go on to slate it for being unfaithful. I'm not sure therefore whether they are not even planning to get it close to the book, or wheher they're just avoiding making grand claims a la Mel Gibson's "historical accuracy".

I would sense that this means the spiritual angles maybe be reduced however. I also hope the director isn't one of those who chides the books for its slightly non-PC parts, and remembers it so.

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Adamson, who first read the storybooks as a boy, says, "I always thought Narnia was real. I don't want to make the book as much as my memory of the book. Aslan has to be a talking, emoting character."

Memory, eh? Seems fair, since film IS after all a different medium from literature. Let's just hope his memory isn't one of the really wonky ones.

I already commented on this in another thread, but I'll just say it again: What in the world does Adamson mean by this statement? I'm with him on having thought of Narnia as real, and certainly hope he plans to portray it as such. But if he doesn't recall Aslan as "talking & emoting," he'd better read the book again before he starts filming. Please?

I certainly understand the need to adapt literature to the needs of film, but some things are essential.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This appears to be different from the subscribers-only Variety story here.

- - -

Disney, Walden Team Up for 'Narnia' Movie

Monday March 1 5:37 PM ET

Fast on the heels of the Oscar triumph for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" The Walt Disney Co on Monday said it will back a film, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," based on another popular series of fantasy books.

Disney has signed a deal with Walden Media, part of the companies owned by Colorado billionaire Philip Anschutz, to co-finance and distribute the movie. It is expected to hit theaters for the Christmas season in 2005.

Financial details were undisclosed, but the deal marks a high-profile partnership for a series of potential blockbuster films following a recent decision by Disney and Pixar Animation Studios Inc. to sever ties that led to five straight box office hits with animated films such as "Finding Nemo."

Like the three-part "Rings" movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novels about a war in middle Earth, the "Narnia" books have a long and loyal following.

The "Rings" movies, distributed by Time Warner Inc. unit New Line Cinema, have grossed more than $2.8 billion in global ticket sales. On Sunday, the third film, "Return of the King" won a record-tying 11 Oscars, including best film -- the U.S. film industry's top award.

The seven "Narnia" books by C.S. Lewis describe a war in the frozen fantasy land of Narnia pitting the forces of darkness led by the White Witch against the lion Aslan and four children who stumbled into Narnia through a wardrobe closet.

Published in 1950, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is the second book -- a prequel was written afterward -- and perhaps best-known in the series of children's books that has sold over 85 million copies worldwide.

"'The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe' has the potential to be just the start of an extraordinary series of films," Walt Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook said in a statement.

The companies said their agreement calls for their partnership to continue on future "Narnia" films, but details were not disclosed.

Walden had previously signed up director Adam Adamson ("Shrek") for the "Narnia" movies.

Earlier this year, Disney and Pixar decided to go their separate ways after co-financing, promoting and distributing blockbuster animated movies like "Nemo," "Toy Story," and "Monsters, Inc."

The pact also comes as Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner, under fire from investors who claim he has mismanaged the company, readies himself to face stockholders this Wednesday at the company's annual meeting in Philadelphia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fast on the heels of the Oscar triumph for \"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King\" The Walt Disney Co on Monday said it will back a film, \"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,\" based on another popular series of fantasy books.

Now I'm all uneasy. "Disneyfication" connotes everything I do NOT want to see done to Narnia.

We can only hope that Adamson and Walden have as much backbone put together as Jackson, et al., did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now I'm all uneasy.  \"Disneyfication\" connotes everything I do NOT want to see done to Narnia.

We can only hope that Adamson and Walden have as much backbone put together as Jackson, et al., did.

Maybe we need to do more than hope. Jackson et al. pushed for fidelity in part on the basis of fan pressure (cf. article), particularly online. If we just complacently sit back and wait to see what Adamson and Walden deliver, we may well be unpleasantly surprised by the result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe we need to do more than hope. Jackson et al. pushed for fidelity in part on the basis of fan pressure (cf. article)' date=' particularly online. If we just complacently sit back and wait to see what Adamson and Walden deliver, we may well be unpleasantly surprised by the result.[/quote']

But the production studio has too much riding on the first adaptation to screw it up. Bob Beltz, one of the people at Crusader Entertainment, Walden's parent company, told me in an interview a couple of years ago that they have to answer to the Lewis estate if they want to do any of the other adaptations.

-----------------------------

Crosswalk.com: Will Walden release only The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, or do you have a vision to do all The Chronicles of Narnia?

Beltz: We've got the rights to all seven, and the [C.S. Lewis] estate actually only wanted to sell the rights to Lion and the Witch. The estate has been burned through the years real bad and just this year reacquired all the rights to everything.

They were gun-shy because [one studio] has had this project tied up for seven years and has not been able to come up with any kind of a proposal or treatment of the material that the estate could approve. They had tied up all seven of the books, so this time around they wanted to just do them one at a time. We worked with them till they were satisfied that we were going to do it right and faithfully.

We have optioned all seven books and intend to make all seven of them at the caliber and budget of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.

Crosswalk.com: Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is in pre-production, correct?

Beltz: Yes.

Crosswalk.com: Are you going to shoot several of the books back-to-back, like the makers of The Lord of the Rings, or are you going to take them one at a time?

Beltz: One at a time. I think the difference is that The Lord of the Rings, et al., takes place in pretty much the same kind of a setting, whereas if you look at The Chronicles, they're radically different. The second book we'll produce is probably going to be The Magician's Nephew, and of course you don't have the kind of Narnia set in Magician's Nephew as in The Lion.

My understanding is that we can do a second [book] once the estate signs off on the previous one. So our hope is that we can go into pre-production and be ready to move on the second film and the third film and the fourth film as the previous one has hit the stage where the estate says, "Yes, we like it. Go ahead." Our thinking was that we could probably put these out every two years, not every year, like they're doing with Lord of the Rings.

Crosswalk.com: How did you acquire the rights to the books?

Beltz: [The previous studio's] option ran out, and the rights were available again. We stepped in. Every major studio was after it, too, just because of what has happened with Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, but we were working on this before either of these films popped.

Crosswalk.com: You mentioned what will be required financially to deliver big-screen adaptations of The Chronicles, but who are the personnel you have lined up both on-screen or behind the camera? And what is the scheduled release date for the first film?

Beltz: The hope is to release the first one in the summer of 2004, so we're pushing the first one pretty hard. It's become the priority project at Walden. They pretty much know who they're going to have direct the first one. We're waiting for a treatment on the first one, which has to get approved by the estate before it goes to the screenplay stage.

But the good news is that the screenplay will stick so closely to the book. Virtually, your dialogue's already written, and you know where you're going to go with it. I don't think it's going to be a real difficult book to adapt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BethR wrote:

: Now I'm all uneasy. "Disneyfication" connotes everything I do NOT want

: to see done to Narnia.

FWIW, Walden and Disney have partnered before, on Holes, and I think the fans of THAT book were reasonably pleased with the results.

Me, I love the irony of Disney producing a film by the director of Shrek. And I am especially eager to see what the Southern Baptists and other Disney-boycotters do, now that Disney is making films with pretty much explicitly Christian themes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh. My. Goodness.

From IMDb.com news:

Hollywood superstar Nicole Kidman has been signed to star in a new movie version of CS Lewis' classic children's novel The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe. Studio bosses at Disney - who are backing the project - were desperate for Kidman to play the White Witch, and her two kids with ex-husband Tom Cruise, Isabella, 11, and Connor, nine, convinced her to say yes. A Tinseltown source says, "Nicole's kids don't pay great attention to her career - she's just mom to them. But when she mentioned she had been asked to star in the movie they went wild. They even asked for jobs as extras." Kidman even made a secret visit to New Zealand last week to see locations and meet the crew. Walt Disney chairman Richard Cook recently said of the movie - which is due to start filming later this year - "It's a very, very ambitious project and one that we believe could be very important to the studio." .

This is going to be so supremely weird for me, because Nicole Kidman was my ideal casting call for Galadriel. But I can totally, totally, totally see her as the White Witch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, one of my favorite actresses in one of my favorite childhood books? Awesome. Nicole Kidman is a great choice.

As for answering the "Disneyfication" charge, well, I thought Holes was quite good. If Walden Media and Disney can team up as well as they did there, with solid young actors, some inspired casting for the adults and combined with the magic of WETA, I have great hope for this film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Russell Lucas

What was that exchange in Top Secret!?

"My name is Deja Vu."

"Haven't we met before?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Kidman is the perfect choice. She's always had a certain, ummm, icy quality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Russell Lucas

I also think she's perfect. The book (and The Magician's Nephew) go to great length to point out her great beauty, and I'm glad Kidman and the producers seem willing to put her in the role rather than to go the route of the "aging, but mean beauty route," in which she ends up as one of those middle-aged meanies (think Glenn Close, etc.). Kidman's manipulative scenes in To Die For, for example, show that she'll play this well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I take the "Disneyfication" comment back. Everyone happy now? smile.gif

I agree--Holes was great, and the Pixar movies have been excellent.

Nicole Kidman was fabulous at the charming evil in To Die For. I can see her as the White Witch.

Although Lara Flynn Boyle might have been good, too :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More about the Narnia movie(s):

http://www.narniaweb.com

FWIW 8)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never saw To Die For. Did see Nicole Kidman play a witch in Practical Magic, though. And the IMDB has her listed as the lead in an adaptation of Bewitched, too, though that one hasn't even started shooting yet. So she's into the witchy thing, obviously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, Jeff, what unsettles you? The prominence of the sword? (Is The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe a war story like The Lord of the Rings?) The Celtic patterns? The fact that this seems to be yet another colon'ed movie title (a la The Chronicles of Narnia: Episode I - Curse of the Far Side of the Cradle of X-Men United)? The "thousand stories" bit (which may or may not refer to all those rumoured spin-off Narnia novels by writers whose names are NOT C.S. Lewis)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably just that it looks so tacky. I mean It looks like bad publicity for a Christian youth camp.

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it looks tacky, and the proximity of the words Disney and Narnia is something I'm going to have a hard time getting used to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kidman is good from an icy perspective, but I'd prefer someone more regal/imperious, such as Vanessa Redgrave, but even with CGI and makeup, she might be too old at this point. Almost any of the British \"dames\" would do Mirren, Dench, Atkins, Rigg (except Dame Edna--but that's worth a laugh!).

I still think Cate Blanchett would be perfect for the role. She's got that "regal but deadly" look to her. Plus she can act.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still think Cate Blanchett would be perfect for the role.  She's got that \"regal but deadly\" look to her.  Plus she can act.

Uh-oh. Are we gonna have to rumble? 'Cause I think Kidman is a fine actress. Blanchett, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always pictured the White Witch as a raven-haired beauty, along the lines of Catherine Zeta-Jones. But maybe that's because I watched Chicago recently and keep thinking of the manipulative and dangerous Velma. She strikes me as more regal/imperious than Kidman, anyway.

I kind of dislike the idea of anybody as well known as Kidman (or Zeta-Jones, for that matter) taking the role. I think I'd constantly see Kidman onscreen instead of the White Witch. I prefer LotR's approach of bringing in actors who aren't big Hollywood stars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Diane wrote:

: I prefer LotR's approach of bringing in actors who aren't big Hollywood stars.

Hmmm. Maybe it's just film geeks like me who would think this way, but I remember thinking that the names they got for TLotR WERE pretty big -- at least, for fantasy fans, names like Ian McKellen, John Rhys-Davies, Elijah Wood and so forth were already pretty high-profile, no?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...