Interview with Douglas Gresham
“The Philippine Order of Narnians” has interviewed producer Douglas Gresham on a variety of interesting topics, including his thoughts on the Narnia films. Read the full interview at FilipinoNarnians.org. Thanks to “diwanggising” for the heads up!
On Bringing Narnia to Film:
TPON: We know that Andrew Adamson and Walden Media have been very respectful of the original material. In theory, though, how much veto power do you hold over the script?
Gresham: We create the scripts in a collaborative manner, I meet with the writers and Andrew, and we go carefully through every line, honing and refining until we are satisfied that what we have is right. I have as much “voice” in this process as anyone on the team who are all very respectful of my knowledge and expertise.
TPON: The biggest criticism of the LWW film seems to be that there isn’t enough of Aslan in it, and Aslan doesn’t seem to be as all-powerful as he is portrayed in the books. Any thoughts on that?
Gresham: Yes, two thoughts. One is that no matter how much of Aslan we might want to put in a movie we are, as always, constrained to some extent by budget realities. To make a Lion for Aslan who looked anything less than perfect would be terrible, so we tend to try to make every hair of his mane and every move that he makes as close to perfect as we can. You have seen the result on screen. Now I am not about to tell you how much it costs to produce that quality of CGI, but let’s just say that it is not cheap. Somewhere along the line one has to decide how much money is to be spent on what, and to put more of Aslan in the movie means to put less of other things. We had to try for a good balance and I think we achieved it very well.
The on the topic of Aslan being all-powerful (but restraining his power), just how would one portray that in a movie? Remember this? 1 Kings 19:11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
Aslan in the LWW, is the still small voice (except when he roars).
TPON: Many people are into the Narnia stories particularly because of the themes that are behind them. What do you think are the most important themes of Prince Caspian that absolutely must be in the movie?
Gresham: That one I will wait to answer till after the movie is released. I am not about to give anything away at this stage. 🙂
TPON: Many are apprehensive about the portrayal of Calormenes in the Horse and His Boy, which seem to have a Middle Eastern flavor. It’s still far away, but do you have any idea how the Calormenes might be approached in the movies, given a post-9/11 audience?
Gresham: Yes I do, but I am not about to give that away either. However, I don’t think that the descriptions of the Calormenes do have a Middle Eastern flavour. I think you need to look further afield and further back. But in any case, taking offense is a personal choice, and if people want be offended by what I do in a movie that is their right and their responsibility. I will not pander to the likes, dislikes, preferences or prejudices of individuals who might be in our audiences, if you start to do that, sooner or later you wind up with artistic porridge.