NarniaWeb Exclusive: Douglas Gresham on the 10th Anniversary
Posted December 9, 2015 2:26 pm by Glumpuddle
Co-producer Douglas Gresham (stepson of C.S. Lewis) took the time to answer a few of our questions as Disney/Walden’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe crosses the decade mark:
NW: Wow… ten years later. How does it feel to look back?
DG: As if almost no time has passed at all! It’s the weirdest thing that as one gets older (I am now 70) time both accelerates and stops at the same time! I mean the days sometimes seem infinitely long and weeks and months too, but years and even decades are a mere flash of a firefly. Its been a wild ride with its highs and lows but I wouldn’t have missed the last ten years for anything. I have learned so much about so many things.
NW: Has working on these films given you a deeper appreciation or different perspective on the books?
DG: I don’t think so, working on the films has given me a deeper understanding and appreciation of the pitfalls and problems involved in film making though, and its great joys and delights as well. Really one of the saddest parts of it all is the ephemerality of the friendships one makes on a film. A couple of years working together then some intense time on set making a whole bunch of new friends and then zap—its all over and everybody departs and goes their own ways and one sees most of them only very infrequently if ever again. And that’s sad. But on the whole it is a great experience and one I am looking forward to repeating as often as the Lord allows.
NW: Over the past decade, you have expressed how pleased you are with the adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Everyone has their own unique vision of Narnia of course, but for you personally, is there a specific scene in the film that came out exactly as you imagined it when you read the book?
DG: The scene that evokes “true Narnia’ in my mind was that classic sequence in which lovely young Georgie Henley as Lucy experiences Narnia for the first time. Andrew had her carried blindfolded to the set which she had never seen before, down the stairs (we had dug out the floor of the arena in which we filmed it) and carried her to the edge of the set. She stood there for a moment and then the lights came up, the cameras rolled, “Action” was called and the blindfold was removed, and Georgie stepped out into the snowy wood of Narnia. She looked around her in absolute awe and amazement, totally gobsmacked—one take!
NW: You have explained in the past how “compromises” are sometimes required when adapting a book for film. Could you pick out a specific example of a “compromise” decision in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?
DG: Well it is ten years ago now—-and a lot of film has rolled through the gate since then, do you know, its amazing but I cannot remember even one. I suppose I erase that bit of hard drive as I move on to the next movie.
NW: Could you tell us your favorite Chronicle of Narnia at this particular moment?
DG: The Silver Chair of course, that’s the one I am reading at present again and again.
Listen to our 10th anniversary audio commentary for the film.