Empire Interviews Michael Apted and Ben Barnes
This weekend at Movie-Con, Empire sat down with director Michael Apted and Ben Barnes to chat for a little bit about The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Here are some highlights…
This was my favourite book, says our Dan Jolin. This is the Sinbad one – is that what you’ve gone for?
Apted: “Yes, it is a journey, it is an adventure. They aren’t in Narnia at all. The whole film is a voyage, which is a tough thing to pull off, to keep the energy going from island to island.
Barnes: “It was my favourite book too because it has that voyage element to it, like Sinbad or Jason And the Argonauts. We’ve gone slightly bigger than those films though. It’s not a papier mache dragon this time – although there was a very large papier mache rock at one point.
Apted: “Don’t tell them everything!”
The film changed studio after you joined, Michael – how did it change?
Apted: “It’s been a long journey; we deliver the film in December but I’ll have been on it by then for three and a half years. I was hired while Andrew Adamson was stil making the second one, so he couldn’t have done it, because it’s not like Potter; each is a different world so you can’t do them back to back. We then faced a world of economic problems and we thought we were dead in the water, but Fox came aboard and then we started. We shot in Australia and now we’re finishing here.
How was it returning to play Caspian, Ben?
Barnes: “While it was very frustrating for everyone else, it was quite nice for me to have a break between the first and this and do other things, and then come back to it with my favourite story, a fresh studio and a fresh director. And playing a king this time, someone who’s been in authority for several years – which is very different to playing someone who’s running away ALL THE TIME. I think when you’re dealing with books based on children’s literature, you have to deal with nostalgia and so on, which is why people balk at remakes and so on, but when you have a new director you can reimagine parts of it as you see fit, which is nice.”
In the trailer, there are people in the film who don’t feature in the book. Is that the case? Peter and Susan aren’t in the book.
Apted: “That’s a nice little surprise for you in the film. It doesn’t go against the book but it’s a nifty little idea in the film. They came back for a couple of days, and it doesn’t really impinge on the story but it’s a nice little grace note.”
Would the Magician’s Nephew ever get made?
Apted: “I can’t answer that – Mark can.
Barnes: “He says they thought they’d start with the best known one since that would sell the most tickets…”
Mark: “We thought we’d start with the four Pevensie children. The question now is, for the fourth film, do we go to the Silver Chair or go back to The Magician’s Nephew?”
Barnes: “Am I in either of those?”
Mark: “In the Silver Chair briefly, as a very old man.
Would you be back for that, Michael?
Apted: “I’d want a break, but sure. Each of these has a very different feel, it’s like Bond. There’s a set of rules for each one, but the difference between each is vast. For a director, this is a much more challenging franchise than even the Potters. There, it’s the same people getting older, so you don’t feel you’ll be repeating yourself.
Ben, would you go back?
Barnes: “Yes, but I want a crack at playing him at 70, that’d be fun. Unless it’s 3 hours every day in make-up. But they were three and a half years, so they do encompass a lot of your world and they mean a lot to you.
The full interview is available on Empire’s website here. It’s about halfway down the page.
Thanks to DamselJillPole for the heads-up!