The Silver Chair Screenwriter Talks Story and Themes | Talking Beasts

Posted August 7, 2017 5:00 am by Glumpuddle

David Magee

“I’d read the whole Narnia series when I was young and I loved it,” David Magee explained. The Oscar-nominated screenwriter joined us remotely from his office in New Jersey to chat about his script for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair.

David discussed themes in the story, his collaboration with Director Joe Johnston and Producer Douglas Gresham, elements of the book that may be expanded for the movie, and a lot more. He also said he hopes to be involved with future Chronicles of Narnia movies. Listen to the discussion and post a comment below!

The C.S. Lewis Minute segment is brought to you by William O’Flaherty, author of C.S. Lewis Goes to Hell and creator of EssentialCSLewis.com.

Look for our next episode on Monday, August 21.

44 Comments For This Story

  • Fantasia_kitty says:

    Terrific interview. Thanks David Magee for giving it! I especially liked how he addressed Jill as a bullied girl.

  • narnia fan 7 says:

    Great interview. Really appreciate David taking the time to do this.

  • Sarah Rees says:

    I loved this! Thanks for this great interview. It definitely makes my excitement for the film increase. SC is my favorite book … And the last film adaptation was in most ways a big disappointment. Sounds like I have reason for lots of optimism about the adaptation of The Silver Chair.

  • shastastwin says:

    This just confirms my belief that Magee was the perfect choice for this film. Thanks for conducting the interview, Gp, and for agreeing to it, Mr. Magee.

  • Melanie Millette says:

    I’m still pretty apprehensive about how the movie will turn out. He seems alright and everything, but the fact he "read the books and liked them" made me sad. I want someone that read the books until the pages were worn.

    And I have to keep coming back to it – the bullying. The story isn’t about that, it is about consequences. The bullying is just a tool in the story to show how much Jill has grown by the end.

    I may sound nuts for a 40 year old but these stories are so very important to me, to who I am at my very core, and to my art… I can’t be the only one that feels this strongly about them.

    • Glumpuddle says:

      Take a look at the book he’s holding in the picture. Pages look pretty worn to me. 😉

      I too was uneasy about the idea of bullying being emphasized, so this interview made me feel a lot better. The themes he talked about initially had nothing to do with bullying. It’s only when I specifically asked him about it that he bothered talk about bullying at all. And all he said is that we will know specifically what Jill is being bullied about in the movie. This strikes me as very similar to how they elaborated on the World War II context in the LWW movie. It’s just part of adapting the book into a three-dimensional flesh-and-blood world.

      Obviously we know very little at this stage and my concerns aren’t 100% gone. But, this interview was encouraging.

      You are most definitely not the only one who feels that strongly about the books! I’m 30 and the books literally changed my life, and I continue to find new meaning ever time I go back. I’m really glad you are here! The filmmakers need to understand that there are a lot of people who don’t just want to be entertained…. the book means more to us than that. Please continue to speak out.

      • waggawerewolf27 says:

        Yes, I’m sure that the book David Magee was holding was dog-eared. Whilst I went through the Silver Chair Reading Group Chapter by Chapter, I was carrying around a copy of that book to read at odd moments, at the Doctor, on the bus, on a train, leaving it lying around the house etc. I’d imagine that whilst he was writing a script of a film he would be doing the same sort of thing, referring back to the book again and again. It is easy to get tripped up if a question arises that the reader had not noticed at last time of reading, no matter how well one thinks they know how the book goes.

      • Melanie Millette says:

        Thank you, I did feel a bit better, but yea… still not there either.
        Glad to know I am not alone in this "Narnia for life" hehe

    • The Rose-Tree Dryad says:

      Re: "read them and liked them"… that would probably describe my initial reaction to the books when I read MN and LWW at around age eleven. I then finally read all of them in my later teens, adored them, and every year since I come to love the stories even more deeply. I’m a massive fan now. So I’m not worried if Magee wasn’t a super-fan from the get-go. 🙂

    • Anfinwen says:

      Just a note, he actually says "I’d read the whole Narnia series when I was young, and I loved it." Like and love are a little different, and he finished the whole series. I definitely feel optimistic.

  • HPofNARNIA says:

    I saw Finding Neverland last year and I thought it was a really great film. I’m really glad that Puddlegulm’s speech is going to b in the movie. I’m just hoping that Aslan’s speech he gives to Jill will be in there because that’s my favorite scene in the book.

  • JillianP says:

    This was fabulous! Thanks to GP and David for putting together a great interview! Haven’t been this excited about Narnia news since the Joe Johnston video in April.

  • HPofNARNIA says:

    What I really don’t want to see in the movie is the part where they sliced off the snake’s head and I’m sure kids don’t wanna see that either.

  • Anfinwen says:

    Just finished my second listen, and I am so excited! Great interview, Glumpuddle, and thanks to all who had a hand in setting this up. I was beginning to feel depressed by the silence, and this episode and the the podcasts in general always make me feel better. Mr. Magee seems to have a good grasp of the story, but still able to admit what changes need to be made. I began to understand the silence a little more as he talked about collaboration. It made me realize that as more people are brought on board they will have their own creative input, and the pause can in part be explained by them all working to get on the same page.

  • waggawerewolf27 says:

    I’ve just listened to it for the first time, and yes, I’m thrilled, too. It is great that Glumpuddle was able to interview David Magee for us. Has anyone seen "The life of Pi"? It was a really good film and very thought-provoking. I particularly loved the ending of that film, and now as a consequence of this interview, I feel reassured that I may feel the same about Silver Chair.

  • Lord Argoz says:

    You’re a great interviewer Puddleglum! Thanks for your thoughtfully chosen questions.You’re a great answerer Magee! Thanks for your encouraging answers.

  • Yerdif says:

    Very good. Just a question: who would you guys like to see compose the music for Silver Chair?

  • Mack says:

    This interview made me happy. I have a good feeling about this one, guys.

    Also, Glumpuddle, notice how he said "optimism from the most pessimistic of characters." Not sure if that goes along with what are always saying about Puddleglum or if it is the opposite. I quite liked it.

    • friendOfNarnia2 says:

      My concern with that comment was that Puddleglum isn’t actually pessimistic at all. He’s quite the opposite. He always puts what he considers to be a positive spin on it. The humor is that to others it doesn’t actually sound optimistic. I just hope they don’t make him into Eeyore.

    • Janet says:

      Puddleglum is one of my favorite characters and I hope he is done well. Get Tom Baker to play him again as he did a wonderful job on the BBC production

  • AslanNarnia says:

    Good news if not great news. It would seem David Magee has a complete grasp of the novel and the messages it contains. Sounds like it is going to be a very intelligent script. I do not have the same fears for this movie that I had for TVOTDT which was a massive opportunity lost to produce a powerful, thought provoking yet entertaining film.

  • Roger says:

    Excellent interview. I am a little more at ease about the film. I am still uncomfortable about Mr. Magee wanting to name TLOTGK, a very bad idea. I am glad that he wants to stay close to the book. The studio has a final say about this. He did not say anything about a battle. I am still guarded about the film. Great job, Brian.

    • narnia fan 7 says:

      A few months ago someone asked Magee on Twitter about the lotgk having a name and he said "We have not given her a name as of yet and might not use any name in the dialogue " So it seems like there’s a good chance she won’t have one after all.

  • Anfinwen says:

    I went back and watched the creative spark video from 2015, and someone in the comments pointed out that you can see "The Silver Chair" sitting on his table at 2:26. I looks like the same copy he has in the above picture. Just a fun little nod to Narnia.

  • imaginatvytitle says:

    Thank you so much to Mr. Magee for taking the time to do this and for giving such thoughtful answers. I really appreciate his insights. Go show him some love on Twitter!
    Also, awesome job Brian! It was a great interview. I’m definitely more at ease about the bullying thing now. And really, everything he said was very encouraging.

  • Prince Norin says:

    Thanks to David Magee for doing the interview! I appreciate how much the production team has been invested this time around in reaching out to the fan base. I am looking forward to this movie even more after listening to the interview!

  • Rick kuhn says:

    Like his hint about the bullying! Loved it!

  • Jillfan says:

    I am so hyped for this movie right now! From what Magee said it sounds like they are on the right track. I really appreciated what he had to say about adaptation. It helped me understand what goes on in movie makers’ heads. Good job everyone!

  • Justin Orman says:

    Liked the interview – hopefully he sticks a bit closer than previous films, especially the last one which was sadly butchered almost beyond recognition. Certainly willing to wait and give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Stoked I guessed the trivia question correctly, although it was nice to hear Magee thinking through it and doing a good job eliminating obvious wrong choices – it tells me he has at least a working knowledge of the books, which certainly can’t hurt.

  • Eysee says:

    Nice! A lot of people already said this but I’m so glad Mr.Magee took the time to do this interview

  • High king Peter says:

    wow that’s nice.He indeed is putting all the efforts. Having hopes that he will make it nice for both the book readers and the other audiences .Hope the begin cast and filming within this year !!

  • High king Peter says:

    -Jill had a fear of dark, closed spaces, right? I guess that fear should be a bit explored in the movie because thats one of her fears.
    -Half of the movie is in the sunlight land ( earth ) while the rest is in the underground. So it should keep an environment of hopelessness and anxiety
    The appearance of the BBC version of Jill was exactly what i imagined as i read in the book. I hope they keep it that way

    Anyways, I hope this movie will capture our imaginations more than the other 3. Good luck and God bless you dear producers and directors of the Silver chair

  • Rick kuhn says:

    Thinking may 2019 now

  • Believe4eva says:

    I’m going to be in this film…..just putting it out there. This movie will NOT be made without me 🙂

    So exciting!

  • Gandalf the Grey says:

    Great!

  • Jonathan Paper says:

    This makes me happy.
    I listened all the way through and I am glad he was one of us kids who read and loved the Chronicles.
    I feel the script is in safe hands.
    So thoughtful.

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