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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. Casue says:

    I agree 110%

  5. 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.

  6. Casue says:

    Hear Hear!

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Mark Sommer says:

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

  10. 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

  11. 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…..

  12. High Queene ShellyBelly says:

    now THAT would be hilarious!

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. Queen of Narnia says:

    LOL! but yeah, I have to agree with King_Cor, that wouldn't make any sense.

  17. Queen of Narnia says:

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

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