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!

78 Responses

  1. Ossie-The-Great says:

    Great interview, nothing revelational though as far as I can see, still a good read

    • Dufflepoodle says:

      well, no, the fact that Peter and Susan ARE in Narnia for a few days is very surprising news… but I'm glad they're sure it'll tie-in well

  2. TigerPole says:

    First Comment!!! Finally!

    Great interview! I'm relieved about the Susan and Peter part! Mr. Apted, you just calmed my nerves!

    • TigerPole says:

      Oops! I guess Ossie and I were posting at the same time!

    • Pepper Darcy says:

      Exactly! (on Susan/Peter) though I'm *REALLY* excited to see them again… Peter looks like he definately has a much better attitude. Susan looks sad or frustrated! 🙂 I'm hoping for The Silver Chair and The Last Battle next! You'd want Eustace (and then Jill) to be the right ages. THEN they should do The Horse and His Boy and then The Magician's Nephew last because you don't have any kid's age (actor wise) to worry about 😉

      • Warrior 4 Jesus says:

        The Last Battle really should be last. It's no problem if Eustace is quite a bit older. It hasn't been a problem with the previous movies.

      • LL says:

        That order would work perfectly! So I concur with you 🙂

  3. That's a pretty awesome interview! Nothing too much is revealed, but there is a bit more info! I like it! Sail on VOTD…and CAME FASTER!!! 😀

  4. icarus says:

    I couldn't quite work it out, but is Mark Johnson there in that interview too? There are two comments attributed to "Mark", and they would seem to be the sort of things the Series Producer might say regarding Silver Chair and Magician's Nephew and stuff, but it doesn't ever mention Mark Johnson being present, and all the other quotes are attributed by last name rather than first name, so im a little confused. Not of great importance either way, but it was bugging me.

  5. HighQueen_Of_LanternWaste says:

    Very glad to hear that about Peter and Susan. I'm actually very excited for this scene.

  6. sgk474 says:

    I knew the peter and Susan thing would just be a cameo – don't know why people worry so much – it'll be gr8!

  7. Caspian says:

    "They came back for a couple of days"…WHAT'S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN? And how can that not 'impugn' the book? Because in the books Aslan told them they were never coming back, so unless they're dead and that's why they show up in Aslan's Country, THEY SHOULDN'T BE THERE AT ALL! If it shows them in England, fine. But 'not returning to Narnia' encompasses the entire world/dimension in which Narnia exists. *grrrr* Apted, if you mess this up I'm walking out.

    • always narnian says:

      I know. But even in the end, Susan doesn't go to Aslan's country… =\ They are taking way too much liberty in this. I'm OK with them being in England too..But in Narnia??? no! =\

    • Silver the Wanderer says:

      When he says "They came back for a couple of days", I think he's just talking about Will and Anna coming back on SET for a couple of days, so that they could film their cameos. 😉

      • Mark Sommer says:

        I think you are right, but the way he worded it, I can't blame people for wondering!

  8. always narnian says:

    O no I am worried about the Pevensies…I mean Peter and Suan being in it….=\ That's not in the book, people!

    • Pepper Darcy says:

      hey, Always, what if he just means 'for a few days' in England? He didn't say Narnia? And what if it's a dream they're having? 🙂 Anyways, miss ya lots! 😀

      Oh, by the way, just trying to calm your nerves and say: 'no need to worry yet!' 🙂 Haven't seen the movie! 😀

  9. Trufflehunter says:

    Re-reading the part about Peter and Susan, I think he means that William and Anna "came back for a few days" to film, rather than the characters "coming back" to Narnia in the movie. As "come" would imply the future, as in "the movie is coming to theaters December 10", and came is past-tensed as in "Will and Anna came back on set to film their scene for a few days," I think it's a fairly safe bet that we have nothing to worry about.

    • narnian resident says:

      thats a keen observation, Trufflehunter 🙂

      • dinode says:

        I thought it was interesting that Ben Barnes didn't know if he was in SC. Also, he won't just be an old man, he'll be young in Aslan's country.
        I think that after SC they should do MN so that the Pevensies have more time to grow up.

    • Starlily says:

      I think that makes sense. I mean, Peter and Susan can't come back to Narnia without going against the book, and Michael Apted said that the scenes they're in don't go against the book. So I think it's logical that he meant they come back for FILMING, not for scenes in Narnia. I'm really curious as to how many scenes Peter and Susan will be in, and can't wait to find out. Hopefully it will be a "nice surprise" like Apted said.

  10. for narnia and the north says:

    Haha Ben is hilarious…he characterizes Prince Caspian as someone who's "running away ALL THE TIME." which is true, but funnier because Ben says it.
    I wouldn't worry about Peter and Susan appearing, even if it's for "a couple days." It's not like they're adding a whole new subplot like Suspian. Although now that I think of it, won't it be awkward for Caspian and Susan? She did say, "We're not coming back." That's why he was so sad at the end, and everyone was like awww, and, and….argh my brain hurts.

    • LucyTheValiant says:

      I think Susan and Peter will definitly have a small part in the movie but i'm 99% sure they won't be back in narnia and so susan won't have the risk of running into caspian.
      Sail On VDT 🙂

    • Well, Susan and Peter ARE in Narnian clothes, and Susan has her bow… so… honestly, WHO KNOWS what that means! LOL
      If it must be in there, I'm glad it's brief.

    • midnightmoon says:

      Yeah, Ben's really funny. He's had so many hilarious interviews.
      P.S. Suspian is the funniest name combo ever.

  11. Ambervina says:

    To Mark if your reading this: MAKE HORSE AND HIS BOY NEXT!! PLZ!!

    Hope you right about the filming Trufflehunter. That had me worried.

    The part about the book being 'a journey…an adventure' is very encouraging though.

  12. Not Of This World says:


  13. Aslan's Meadow says:

    I would say YES to making MN next, but I don't want another actor for eustace in SC, I I voete SC, then MN.
    Also what did he mean Peter and Susan come back "A Couple Days"? A Couple days in Narnai, England, or Filming?

  14. narnian resident says:

    i personally think they should make Silver Chair next, just to stay in the perfect order they're going in. it would be kinda weird if they suddenly went to a whole different story with completely new characters, especially when we learn at the end of VDT that Eustace will be coming back, and then suddenly we get Magician's Nephew and people who dont know the books will be like "Who's these people?! Where'd Eustace go? What book is this?!" it would be just terribly confusing for them.
    Michael's bit about Peter and Susan has me both calmed and terribly curious. it sounds like its not going to be such a hinderance to the story as we all have feared, but im still confused and awfully curious as to what the whole thing is with them.
    i laughed when Michael yelled at Ben not to "tell them anything" when Ben said something about a papier mache rock. i dont see whats so spoiling about that. funny though 🙂

    • Starlily says:

      I agree the Silver Chair should be next. It would ruin the continuity if they filmed a different one. It only makes sense to go in order.

      And I laughed too about Michael saying, "Don't tell them everything!" He sounds so frantic, like Ben is going to give away the whole plot of the movie. 😛 And yeah, I don't see what's so spoiling about a paper mache rock (paper mache???). Lol.

      • Mark Sommer says:

        I think the "don't give everything away" comment was meant tongue in cheek. I see humor, not yelling.

    • High Queene ShellyBelly says:

      am i the only one to have found SC to be a bore? bummer, no pevensies. eustace=cool , jill ,ok storyline, not so much…..

  15. Alambil says:

    I just finished rereading SC and I have a renewed love and respect for that book…. I think it'd be awesome if they did that one next. Then they could go back to the beginning of the series. (I think that would work best because Will could play Eustace again and not look that much older.)

  16. pselpevensie says:

    cool interview…
    my idea for order: LWW, PC, VTD, SC, HHB, MN, LB

  17. Lucy says:

    They NEED to do Silver Chair next.

  18. Nicole says:

    do Silver Chair next then Magicians Nephew then Horse and His Boy then Last Battle

  19. DragonGirl28 says:

    Whew, that's good to hear about Susan and Peter.

    And they MUST do the Silver Chair next!

    • Linus the True says:

      I agree. I don't even know why it's up for discussion whether or not SC is next. If SC isn't next, Eustace will be too old for the part by the time they get around to it.

    • Reepicheep says:

      The Silver Chair has been announced to be the next film, but it hasn't been greenlit.

  20. I hope they film SC and MN simultaneously. The chances of that happening, though, are very, very slim. But I'd love it.

  21. Waleed Sajjad Khan says:

    XD Ben is funny!!!
    "Am I in either of those?" "I want a crack at playing him at 70."

  22. Reepicheep says:

    I was soooooooooooooooo darn worried about Peter and Susan being it.

  23. Mirima Rosetrader says:

    Like the interview! Can't wait! Ben is funny! 😀 Can't wait to see what they're doing with Peter and Susan that should be interesting. 😉 Long live Aslan and Sail on VDT! 😀

    • Allalea says:

      What if Susan and Peter appear in the Magicians Book or something? From what I've seen in the trailer it's as if Aslan is trying to remind the Pevensies who they are. As for the Papier Mache rock that could be the rock on dragon island that Caspian throws the bracelet onto.

  24. QueenLucy12 says:

    lol ya ben is funny! VERY Happy to hear about peter and susan, i doubt that they'll be in narnia but… idk from the trailer. they should make SC, MN, HHB then LB.

    • SirCC says:

      They really should make The Silver Chair and then The Horse & His Boy, since the four Pevensies are in the Horse & His Boy. And, Since there are many details in the Last Battle which are explained in the Magician's Nephew, they kind of need to make it before it.

  25. Northernranger says:

    That was a pretty good interview. Glad that he talked about the Susan and Peter thing a little. At least it isn't anything major. I hope he means that they just came back to shot for a few days and didn't go to Narnia. But they are wearing Narnian clothes in the trailer. Well we only have to wait less then 4 months!!!!

  26. Twinimage says:

    Very glad to hear about the Peter/Susan situation.
    While I still want to know how they appear in the film, I don't have to worry about it anymore now. 🙂

  27. MP_in_Narnia says:

    Good interview! LOL Ben's quite funny!

    I was never worried about Peter and Susan when I saw them in the trailer…just curious…

    My theory is that they "come back" while Lucy is looking at the Book of Incantations 😀 or possibly in a dream Lucy has…

    • Allalea says:

      That's my theory too.

    • Casue says:

      be careful if you say that it is a dream sequence cuz i did that when they had the 2nd trailer out and someone named NarniaNerd (I think) said it was highly unlikely. he crushed my dreams.
      I think it is a dram sequence too by the way!

      • jill says:

        But that beach isn't Narnia is it? It's that little golden sheep scene at the very end. it's Aslans country right, so maybe peter and susan are like meeting them at the gate of of that world or something like that. Just a theory.

  28. Allalea says:

    What if Susan and Peter appear in the Magicians Book or something? From what I’ve seen in the trailer it’s as if Aslan is trying to remind the Pevensies who they are. As for the Papier Mache rock that could be the rock on dragon island that Caspian throws the bracelet onto.

  29. Brian in Calgary says:

    As far as Peter & Susan are concerned, people need to take deep breaths, and calm down. My theory as to how they appear in the movie is as part of someone's dream (Caspian's?) when the ship is neaing the island where dreams (nightmares?) come true. In my opinion, that in NO WAY would be contrary to the book, but would complement it.

  30. Anna's Sister says:

    Interesting about Peter and Susan. I'm sitting here trying to think of why they could possibly be there.

  31. FrecklefaceJill says:

    I'm so glad about Peter and susan!! I like Jason and the Aurganots and Sinbad, they're my dad's fave movies!! 😀 🙂

  32. Cynical Narnia Fanboy says:

    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."
    Are. You. Serious.
    This is TERRIBLE…I can't believe he's saying it doesn't encroach on the book.

    • Cynical Narnia Fanboy says:

      Hey, maybe it's when the Dark Island they're all having nightmares and Caspian sees Peter and Susan walking toward him… that would scare me!

    • Peepicheep says:

      THEY AREN'T SUPPOSE TO BE THERE!! I am not happy at all about having Peter and Susan coming back to Narnia, they are too old for Narnia remember in Prince Caspian, Aslan told them that they can't come back to Narnia and here they are back in Narnia.

      • Casue says:

        According to the books Aslan is God/Christ (I never figured out which…). So He's the big cheese of all of creation and He can do what He wants (as in change a storyline by putting thoughts into the movie writers head) because He makes everthing happen for a reason.

      • Queen of Narnia says:

        yes, that is pretty annoying. i don't know why they can't just leave good books alone and have to change the story.

    • Queen of Narnia says:

      I agree 100%. that does pretty much "GO AGAINST THE BOOK!"

  33. Weapon Master says:

    First of all, why is everybody getting so bent out of shape over Peter and Susan? I know perfectly that they hardly figure in the book, but we know almost nothing about how they are going to fit into the movie plot at this point, and (no offense to different interpretations) I thought it was obvious that the "couple of days" was just for filming, not the storyline. In any case, I strongly urge everyone not to jump to conclusions until more info. is released. As far as the order of making the films is concerned, I agree that they should be made in the order originally intended. Speaking of "The Silver Chair", Douglas Gresham suggested during LWW that Andrew Adamson would be perfect for playing Puddleglum, so it'll be interesting to see if they follow up on that.

  34. Alambil and Tarvis says:

    I love it. Michael sounds like he was the perfect director for this movie. And I'm SO relieved about the Susan and Peter part.

    As for the 4th one…they'll probably go w/ The Silver Chair. The MN thing sounded like tongue-in-cheek humor to me. Because, honestly, they'd HAVE to do SC next for practical reasons–Will Poulter will be EIGHTEEN :O :O :O next January :O

    So, yeah. Definitely SC before MN. lol

  35. Mark Sommer says:

    The full text of the interview has been moved here: http://www.empireonline.com/movie-con/qa/9.asp

  36. High Queene ShellyBelly says:

    i worry that if they do the silver chair, it will doom the series. i'd love to seee all the others made.

  37. Queen of Narnia says:

    Well, it sounds pretty neat. But I am a tid bit concerned about Peter and Susan, but he said it doesn't go against the book, but still….. :0

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