Douglas Gresham Talks Prince Caspian
Your NarniaWeb moderators had the opportunity this weekend to put questions to co-producer Douglas Gresham, who is the step-son of Narnia creator C.S. Lewis.
NW: How is the filming going? In fact, where are you right now?
DG: I am in Prague at the set of Prince Caspian. I am here to catch up with some of my favourite people who are the cast and crew, and with the footage that has been filmed since I was with the team in New Zealand – and of course to look at one of the most fabulous sets ever built, Miraz’s Castle, which is what we are filming right now. I can tell you that the footage we have so far looks spectacularly good, even richer and somehow stronger than LWW. Also the increased maturity of the children and their acting skills is remarkable. This is going to be one seriously great movie.
NW: So how do you like the casting choices for Caspian and the other new characters?
DG: As Co-Producer one of my tasks is to be a part of the team that makes the casting decisions, so naturally I am happy with our choices. This film was not as easy to cast as LWW, but the cast we have found are superb.
NW: What is the rationale behind putting a minotaur (Asterius), a creature associated with evil in LWW, as someone on Caspian’s side?
DG: There are several reasons for that. Firstly, we felt that we needed to show that in Narnia as here, old foes can be forgiven and can reconcile and work together, given the will to do so. Secondly, that in Narnia as also it is here, a common adversary will bring even the worst of enemies together and unite them. Also, that the shapes and colours of a species’ body do not necessarily denote their character, that just because someone is a Minotaur does not have to mean that they are all bad. Finally, we kind of like Minotaurs.
NW: Have any secondary characters from the book been reduced or eliminated in PC in the way that Rumblebuffin and the “Us Lions” lion were in LWW? (eg Wimbleweather, the Bulgy Bear, Bacchus, Caspian’s Nurse).
DG: Now you’re fishing with too fine a net, I am not about to reveal too much nor to give too much away. That is the sort of question that you will have to watch to the movie to find out the answer to.
NW: We’ve heard rumours that Mr. Tumnus is going to be in this movie as a very old faun. Is this true? If so, why?
DG: Well, I know that Fauns are long livers, but 1300+ years? I doubt it. It would be fun to bring back James though.
NW: Has Queen Prunaprismia’s role been expanded in the film?
DG: Go see the movie, and all will be revealed.
NW: How will the children’s’ relationships with Aslan be portrayed in this film? Will Lucy’s midnight meeting of him be shown; will the children have to follow him on faith? Is Aslan going to undergo any “character development”, per se?
DG: Now that is an interesting question. I suggest that you get together all your friends, and their friends, and your enemies and their enemies too (after all we are supposed to love our enemies) and then take them all out to the movie on release night, and then let me know what you think the answer to that is. If you can’t quite figure it out that night, go back and see it again and again till you can, it will be worth it.
NW: Will the dryads and wood gods be CGI or actors or half-and-half, this time?
DG: This actually varies from character to character depending on what we require them to do and how they need to appear. For example the Cherry-tree dryad in LWW was one who need considerable CGI assistance to exist at all. We will of course use the very best techniques available to us in each case, but these decisions are always driven by the needs of the scene.
NW: Do NarniaWebbers need to feel alarmed at the rumour of there being an attraction between Caspian and Susan in the script?
DG: If I were you I would worry far more about Global Warming.
NW: Is there any reason to worry about the Peter/Miraz duel being changed significantly (as in, maybe, Caspian/Miraz) in the film?
DG: Again, this is not something I would descend into the depths of despair over.
NW: Do you think PC will be about as true to the book as LWW was, or will more changes be needed?
DG: That depends a bit on what you mean by “true to the book”. In the sense that the meanings and intentions that Jack wrote are all in the movie, it is faithful to the book; but the book has a great deal of walking and talking which, while it works very well in Jack’s masterful prose, would result in a very boring movie if we stuck to that format on screen. We have obviously had to make rather more visually exciting things happen .
NW: Is PC going to be as squeaky clean as LWW was? While aiming for a PG rating, will a bit more grittiness be added to the movie for a little more realism?
DG: Ahh, so you guys do want a romance between Susan and Caspian after all. Seriously, though, I think I take issue with your idea apparent that LWW lacked realism. You have to remember that LWW starts in savage winter when the whole land of Narnia is blanketed in thick snow which is freshened almost every night, and thus has that beautiful clean, almost purified look and feel about it, and then moves into the burgeoning freshness of Spring. Hard to make either of those “gritty” without losing their realism. Prince Caspian is very different in character, scenario, in feel, in the nature of the adventure. I think that you will find it stunningly beautiful, and yet carrying moods as changeable and as impactive as the weather in which we filmed them. However what is realism in Narnia may well be fantasy here.
NW: Is there any chance we’ll be treated to another cameo by Mr. Gresham?
DG: That is a decision for Andrew, suffice it to say that if called, he will serve.
NW: Thank you very much.