Ian Brodie on NZ’s TV1

"Cameras in Narnia" by Ian Brodie

"Cameras in Narnia" by Ian Brodie



Presenter Susan Wood (TV1)

SW: When the movie ends, do you exit immediately, or do you hang around to the bitter end and watch the credits roll? Often leaves you wondering – what do those people do – what’s a Key Grip or a Best Boy? Now a new book by Kiwi film buff answers some of those questions. Ian Brodie is now on location for Narnia: The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, and he’s got some of those behind-the-scenes secrets, secrets he shares with Jendy Harper.

JH (Interviewer): [Brodie shows bunch of spring flower props – still shots on monitor] First up, Ian Brodie wants to ‘fess up, to a movie-making no-no.

IB: I’ve got a terrible confession to make; on the last day on set at Paradise, I took a souvenir. But I look at the detail, the work – they actually hand-painted all these silk flowers, to get them looking exactly right. So I’m sorry, I do have a souvenir from spring in Narnia.

JH: He has official souvenirs too, more than three thousand photographs, all approved and the best of them appearing in his book, Cameras In Narnia [shot of book] – how the Lion [clip, Aslan says to Peter & Susan “The future of Narnia rests on your courage”], the Witch [clip of WW saying ” If it’s a war Aslan wants, then a war he shall get!”] and the Wardrobe [clip of Lucy pulling cover off Wardrobe, light shines out] came to life.

IB: What I wanted to do was get across to people the work involved, the sheer amount of toil that goes into making a film. We go there, we enjoy the film, we watch this roll of credits at the end [various shots of costume-making, set-models, camera work etc] … but these people have worked almost 24/7, sometimes for two or three years, for that to happen. [shots of sets eg Lantern Waster]

[JH: Suggests The “Best Boy”? – The “Gaffer” – “Key Grip”]

IB: The Best Boy is the carpenter in charge of everything. So there’s all these Boys out making things, and that can be anything that’s required on set. But one of them is in charge, and they say he’s the best, so… And of course the Gaffer is the electrician- he’s running around, he’s creating power in Flock Hill, where there was actually none. [shot of camera boom at Flock Hill] – cables, everything. Key Grip looks after the grip of the camera onto the tracks as they move it along for filming [shot of outdoor snow scene]. [shot of shelves of many DVDs in IB’s collection]

I just love movies, and I sit there and watch them over and over and over again.

JH: His favourite, the Lord of the Rings; Ian was there for that too, – his location guidebook sold over a quarter of a million copies worldwide [shots of book, Ian taking photos in locations]..

IB:… which is unbelievable. I thought I might be lucky if we sold five thousand. It’s one of the top five biggest-selling books in N Z history. [smile] scary, isn’t it?

JH: A Narnia location guide might be needed next; already tourists are asking for directions, and the film has yet to be released. Only the trailers are in circulation –

[silent shots of Aslan, children arriving at lamppost, Susan saying “impossible’ ] and they’re pulling in the punters.

IB: [looking at teaser trailer on screen] That Cair Paravel is on the cliff-face at The Catlins. [shot of spraying snow]. Most of the snow is made out of the interior of plastic nappies (clean ones!) [shot of children arriving at house, McCready voice] This is a dusty old hangar in Hobsonville. Trade secrets though, isn’t it? Do people really want to know all these things?

JH: You’re ruining it for me.

IB: Ruining stories? I won’t say another thing, now.

JH: Except to talk about the Computer Generated Imagery. This movie is so high-tech it couldn’t have been made three years ago. [shots of people working on CGI]

IB: The computer generation in this film is unparalleled. Tilda Swinton stands in this chariot that’s got a little guy sitting inside, looking through a little slit. And he’s driving this vehicle with the front on, up the slope, with everybody else marching up the side. But when you see it in the film, you’re going to see these polar bears in front and Tilda with these big reins [brief shot of it].

[shot of P,S & L meeting Aslan at camp; Peter: “Aslan, we need your help.”]

You see this lion, and…. It’s real!

JH: But it isn’t, and only around 100 extras filmed the battle scenes. Animation added thousands more. [shot of battle] Those who were there found the going tough.

IB: The guys in some of the suits would film for ten minutes, and then literally the mouth would open and a fan was pushed in, water was poured in. [shots of minotaurs, centaurs?] The heat was unbelievable; Shane Rangi, wearing his suit, lost 14 kilos in a couple of weeks.

JH: Conditions were easier for the younger members of the cast. [long shots of Lucy eg going to wardrobe] Get set to be bowled over by little Lucy.

IB: Lucy is fantastic.

JH: What a find!

IB: I think Lucy’s going to steal the show.

JH: Are you a groupie?

IB: Maybe I am. Maybe I’m a film groupie. But it gets totally under your skin. [shots of IB’s signed LOTR posters, etc] – an addictive thing, that you just want to be on set with this amazing, disparate group of creative people. I’ll be a groupie. I love it!


SW: Ian said his publishers overseas thought he’d enhanced his photographs; they had never seen the sky so blue. It is all ours though, the real thing – no photoshop required!

– transcribed by Coracle 10 November 2005

Order the ‘Cameras in Narnia’ today at Amazon.com – currently only $10.17.