Prince Caspian at WonderCon 2008

From Disney/Walden Media: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Howard Berger – Creature Supervisor

Shooting for Narnia was done in New Zealand and Czech Republic. This story is bigger in scope, with a new look and vision. “Darker and more savage” because of the storyline( the Narnia creatures have been exiled), but still family entertainment. One aspect as a director that returning to Narnia allowed was to change / do over the creatures. Felt that last movie all the creatures were 20 – 25 years old. This time wanted to make younger and older creatures to give a fuller back drop to story.

Showed a 5 minute video presentation of “Prince Caspian.” *Very* rough cut, with many special effects missing. Was funny to see actors with “green” legs, or with partially completed horse bodies. Arrow shots from Susan were blotching and fat. Reepicheep was not complete – very cartoony. Still – looks like its faithful to the story line and full of sword fighting action.

He’s hoping to be able to work on all movies made from the 7 books. They are starting pre-production on “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” right now. He mentioned that his company was one of several originally interviewed for “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.” He was asked why he wanted to do Narnia, when KNB was not known for this genre. He mentioned he wanted to do a film his kids could watch.

The Telmarines armor was influences by Spanish Renaissance armor. To date, his favorite creatures are Mr. Tumnus (McAvoy) and the Minotaurs.

Side note: McAvoy was brought in at the last minute because they could not find an actor they were happy with. They weren’t sure about him because he was so young and they were thinking of an older Tumnus. Obviously he pulled it off.
[Howard Berger is referring to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe here, NOT Prince Caspian]


Howard Berger came out and spoke about NARNIA. Howard’s a great guy and I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time with him and the other KNB guys on many of the sets I’ve visited. Disney threw him out by his lonesome to answer fan questions and give a little talk about the flick before starting the footage up.

– He looked at the first film and figured out what he wanted to change… he didn’t put it this way, but I got the impression that CASPIAN was an opportunity for a “do-over” on the creatures. He wanted a difference in age with the creatures… so this one we’ll see young creatures, old creatures and more wild beings, not so “coifed.”

-Weta is doing miniature and VFX work as well as a VFX company in London.

– VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER is already moving forward and they’ll do all 7 books if the Box Office stays strong.

The footage they showed had no dialog, only music over images. There were some really incomplete effects, ranging from animatic Reepicheep slashing bad guys and tying up cats to green-legged centaurs. There was also part of the mano-a-mano sword fight between Peter and King Miraz, the evil ruler of the Telmarines who have taken over Narnia while the Pevensies have been away (one year passes for them and it’s well over a thousand years in Narnia).

I’ll have much more detail on this next week… I was shown at least 45 minutes of the movie, so I’ll be able to spill a bit more then. I’ll just say that I wasn’t that keen on the first NARNIA, but this one has a darkness to it that I quite enjoy. I like that Berger, Andrew Adamson and co. have made the world feel a little more used and lived in.

UPDATE: Sonja sent in another link to Howard’s full talk. Click here to view at MovieTome.