Set Visits: The White Witch’s Castle and Others

Posted December 1, 2004 8:53 am by Tirian

UPDATE: IGN has released their set visit report which you can visit by clicking here. This report has five pages of interviews and news about the set. Spoilers!

UPDATE #2: JoBlo.com has released their second set visit report which you can visit by clicking here. Spoilers!

Indiana Sev from Joblo.com and Glen Bucher from Comingsoon.net have both been able to visit the set of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Here are a few of the highlights from their news stories.

“The White Witch’s Courtyard was the first one we were taken to and it was easily the one that impressed me most. We saw close to two dozen life-size creatures (meaning there weren’t any miniatures), frozen in statuesque form and in mid-animation; all very eerie, precise and realistic. 90+ creatures, we were told, had been constructed in this form. The other statues will be used in the lengthy final battle between good & evil at the tail end of the film. The gray and stony centaurs (male & female), hedgehogs, lions, boars, bears, rhinos and the rest all looked truly extraordinary but nothing was more awing and magnificent than Rumblebuffin the giant, frozen in space with his weapon raised above his head (in mid-battle) with that horrific, fierce look on his face. Close to three times my height, it was odd to see the giant that I had read about for the first time on the plane just a few hours ago, in front of me and among all the rest of Aslan’s virtuous “soldiers” – dead, for the time being.

One other “statue” that stood out for me and brought a smile to my face was one I spotted in a corner further away from the rest. It was of an extremely detailed dwarf couple, man and wife, holding one another and pointing upwards, presumably just as they got ‘zapped’ by the witch’s wand. It was the one time I was truly tempted to sneak my camera out, had I brought it along…”

“When Lucy first walks through the wardrobe, she sees the light of the lamppost which has been dropped perfectly inside of a dense snow covered forest. The lamppost itself is an authentic London lamppost that has modified to make it look as if it had grown there. This section of forest is just a small part of a larger forest in an old equestrian center. The center is gigantic and it is filled with hundreds of transplanted trees. Everywhere you step you disturb a light layer of snow (shipped in from England). Even though you know that the walls of the building are just a few yards away they cannot be seen through the trees.

Walking down a short little wooded trail (the equestrian center had an earth floor allowing them to dig terrain into it) the trees thin out and a small clearing emerges containing a perfect little stick structure. Standing just outside the house are mock-ups for the beavers, which will be done entirely by CGI in the movie. They give a good feel for how the scene will look on screen. It matches the book perfectly.

The forest is not the only large set though. The waterfall that the beaver’s house rests upon is at another location. Standing at the bottom, you look upstream at a large river frozen in ice. Icicles hang 30 feet down from the top of the waterfall, silently joining the river below. Huge blocks of the ice are moveable allowing for a thaw of the frozen wasteland and a perilous chase across the once frozen river.

Around the corner from the waterfall is the Ice Queen’s main hall. While walking through this set we had to dodge several men with military grade laser range finders. The entire set, down to handprints in the molded walls, was being digitally rendered so that the CGI effects could be seamlessly meshed with the physical set. Giant translucent ice columns rose forty feet up into the rafters (special effects plans on doubling that), the walls also have the same ghostly green ice effect. The queen’s throne rests at the end of the colonnade and up a short flight of steps. Looking as if carved from one massive block of ice, it is a regal and grand seat of power for the Ice Queen.”

Read the full articles at JoBlo and ComingSoon. JoBlo’s second report is here.