Empire Magazine Talks Narnia

Posted October 3, 2005 8:13 pm by fantasia_kitty

Frankly, last Christmas felt a bit empty – and that’s not just because we gave you our heart (but the very next day, you gave it away), but because we were bereft of a suitable mass-appeal fantasy epic to replace The Lord of the Rings. This year, though, we’ve got the prospect of Potter and PJ’s own King Kong, but if anything, this adaptation of the best-known of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia is a more natural fit. It’s got the literary heritage, a mythical world full of bizarre creatures and a whole bundle of sequels just ripe for adaptation. “There’s obviously some similarities in scale,” says director Andrew Adamson (like Peter Jackson, a New Zealander), “but in other ways this is a very different film because it deals with four individuals and isn’t based on such an expansive story, let’s say.”

The material isn’t the equal of Rings in terms of depth and symbolism either, Adamson acknowledges. “I read [the books] when I was eight years old and it expanded my imagination [to] no end. Then I went back to it as an adult and was surprised by how little is actually in the book, how one-dimensional the characters are. I really wanted the film to expand to fill my imagination of what the story was, which will hopefully fill other people’s imaginations too.”

Hence a one-page battle in the book has been expanded on a truly epic scale, with hideous minotaurs and goblins fighting against centaurs, beavers and our four young heroes, while the conflict between Tilda Swinton’s vicious White Witch and the noble, Christ-like lion, Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson), will also be deepened. Although buzz is positive, Shrek veteran Adamson’s first foray into live-action has given him his share of headaches.

“It’s a little different with live-action,” he concedes. “But when you’ve got the set around you it’s much easier to get the actors into the headspace. I don’t have to sit around and go, ‘Okay, now you’re standing on a beaver dam.’ I put them there.” He laughs. “Although, after this I’d be happy to go and make a film with five actors sitting round a microphone!”

Thanks to Wessex Ranger and Gymfan15 for the heads up and Narniafans.com for the copy of the transcript.