Interviews Douglas Gresham

Doug Gresham on the set of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader ~ Pic sent to us by Tamara has posted an excellent interview with Douglas Gresham regarding The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Here are some highlights.

This is your third time out with a Narnia film. But even so, is it sill thrilling to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader on the big screen?

Absolutely! I enjoy making these movies enormously for the most part. I spent the whole of the shooting time actually on set this time. I enjoy it enormously. This is a tough job. There’s a lot of work involved, but at the same time it’s a blessing for me to get to do it.

Can you give an example of something in the adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader that you took issue with or fought for or didn’t want changed from book to screen?

Well there are so many. Always when you translate a book from the sort of medium of print into a movie, you’re going to have to make changes. What happens in these things is that there’s a sort of group of peopleโ€”almost an informal committeeโ€”that decide what to do and what to put into the screenplay and so forth. And being a complete and utter Narnia fanatical purist, any comma they moved to me is an anathema. So I argue pretty strongly for what I believe in. And we always come to a compromise situation. So there are always things that I would rather not have done, and there are always things the director probably would not have done. And he’s moved in my direction, and I’ve moved in his. This is the sort of cooperative process in making a movie from a book. And I think it probably doesn’t infringe on people’s consciousness when they see the movies as much as it does on mine when I’m actually making the movies. I work very hard to make my points and some of them are understood and some of them are not and so forth. But we always work as sort of a team to eventually come out with something that results in usually a first-class film.

What is your favorite scene in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader?

Well, without a doubt, my favorite scene in this film is the ending of it. It’s one of the most moving and beautiful scenes ever put on-screen. I think everybody will find it the same way.

You can read the full and quite lengthy interview at Crosswalk’s Narnia coverage!

I also rather liked’s little editorial on whether or not you should read the book before you see the movie.

49 Responses

  1. simplyphilly says:


  2. NextJillPole says:


  3. NextJillPole says:

    ok, that was weird. we said the same thing at the same time……… weird

  4. narnia fan 7 says:


  5. simplyphilly says:

    Weird but cool.

  6. fantasia_kitty says:

    Great minds think alike. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. narnia is the best books and movies ever created says:

    ha ha ya that is really weird. lol

  8. Hwin says:

    Wow, that was a really great and thorough interview!!! 'I enjoyed it enormously' ๐Ÿ˜‰ Doug Gresham is such a wonderful man!!! I cannot WAIT until the first time I see VDT! I am believing that they did a good job, and that it will be a great film!!!

  9. FaunFan says:

    That was a great interview! Mr. Gresham seems like a great guy, and I think he is doing a nice job with what he is doing with the films. CANNOT wait for VoDT!!

  10. Starlily says:

    That would be a very stressful job, trying to preserve faithfulness to the book while trying to cooperate with the director. I don't envy Douglas Gresham, but I do thank him for standing up for Narnia and doing what he can to make a faithful adaptation. No matter what the movie is like, I'm sure he did his best to make it a good one. Thanks, Mr. Gresham! (And by the way, I loved your intros on the Narnia Radio Theater dramas. They were very special. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  11. Princess Lucy says:

    that was hillarious when he said he needed the budget to make the next film…hehhe…i really do hope they make silver chair…so everyone come and watch this beautiful film and enjoy the series ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. glumPuddle says:

    "And I said, 'Well โ€ฆ I actually asked Jack himself what order he preferred and thought they should be read in. And he said he thought they should be read in the order of Narnian chronology.'”

    So Lewis said that he himself preferred to read the books in "chronological" order. But Lewis apparently never said which numbers should go on the spine. Those are two different issues.

    It would not be a problem for Lewis, the author, to read them in "chronological" order because the confusing bits would not be a problem. He already knows the entire story. The same is true for anyone who is reading the books for a second time. The confusing bits don't matter because they have already read the entire series.

    The whole thing totally baffles me. There's no getting around the fact that the books were clearly written in a certain order. For example, in LWW when the kids hear Aslan's name for the first time, it says "none of the children knew who Aslan was anymore than you do." If you've already read MN, that's confusing because you know exactly who Aslan is.

    Bring back the original order!

    (I put "chronological" in quotes because HHB does not take place after LWW. It takes place during LWW. So it's not technically correct to call this order chronological)

  13. Moonwood says:

    'And being a complete and utter Narnia fanatical purist, any comma they moved to me is an anathema. So I argue pretty strongly for what I believe in'
    He seems like a nice guy, and I am sure he had an important influence on the movies, but WHERE WAS HE DURING THE PRINCE CASPIAN DISASTER ? NONE of my favorite scenes where in it, and Peter was a jerk.I am very impressed with VDT so far–it warms my heart. Lets hope they keep it up !

  14. glumPuddle says:

    Wouldn't great minds be original?

  15. Eliseo says:

    I completely endorse CS Lewis and Gresham's decision to have the Chronicles read in chronological order.

  16. glumPuddle says:

    There are too many things wrong with "chronological" order to fit in one post or even one video, but here is the tip of the iceberg:

  17. wolfloversk says:

    *Can envision a huge book order debate, and fan's heads spinning in circles….*

    I still say he meant it to be read both ways, he may have preferred one over the other, but he allowed for them to be read either way… No matter which order you pick, things will be confusing, but Lewis was pretty good at making them make sense…in both ways ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. wolfloversk says:

    they could be on the same brain-wavelength

  19. Eustace+Jill says:

    Agreed! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think he even said in a letter that they can be read in any order — which would probably include orders other than just chronological and publication.
    Personally, I prefer to read them as: MN, LWW, PC, VDT, SC, HHB, LB. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. Duffleglum says:

    *groan* wolfloversk, lol
    agreed glumPuddle

  21. Scrubbers says:

    How are they different issues? If Lewis did indeed want the books read in a chronological order, that would mean that he would want those who are going to read the books to know what order to read them in. The last time I checked, the best way to do this is to physically order the individual books chronologically.

    I wouldn't say that the line you quoted from the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe would confuse readers. I think most people are smart enough to realize that Lewis was merely narrating the story in a distinct style. (Indeed, most of his material is of said style.)

  22. Eliseo says:

    Its all a matter of personal opinion. I can understand where purists feel that the books should be read in chronological order – I just disagree with it, thats all.

  23. narnian resident says:

    i love that Douglas is working with these films and i love that he fights to keep the purity of the book in the film. you know, even though there's been some changes that we know of to the story, if Douglas Gresham was working on the film and was there, i have complete confidence in the movie. i wish i could meet him! i would want to meet him out of anyone else because he knew C.S. Lewis personally, and i would just sit down and talk for hours with him about Lewis and about Narnia. that would be so wonderful!

  24. narnian resident says:

    i melted when Douglas said "I have the lap of Jesus Christ". and that right there, is what makes him such a wonderful, amazing person, and i believe that these movies are as wonderful and amazing as they are because of him. God bless you, Douglas ๐Ÿ˜€

  25. glumPuddle says:

    If you read the books already knowing the story, the order does not matter. Obviously Lewis already knew the story, so the order he reads it in does not matter.

    Lets say that I directed a film, and then said "When I watch my film, I like turning the audio commentary track on because I like hearing myself talk." Would that mean that I think everyone who watches my film should watch it with the audio commentary track on? No, that's just the way I, the filmmaker, prefer to watch my own film.

    The books now say that the order has been changed in compliance with the wishes of Lewis. This is simply not true. Lewis never said he wanted the order of the books to be changed.

    Lewis was expressing a personal preference for how HE enjoys reading his own books (since he already knows all the stories anyway). He was not saying "this is the order everyone should read them in."

    As for the LWW line, could you explain more? The book says "None of the children knew who Aslan was anymore than YOU do." If you have already read MN, you know exactly who Aslan is. How would that not be confusing? The reaction would be "what does he mean? I DO know who Aslan is."

  26. glumPuddle says:

    It's not a purist issue. "Chronological" order makes Lewis look like an author with a very bad memory.

    In LWW, Lewis writes "none of the children knew who Aslan was anymore than you do." If you have already read MN, that's confusing. Because you DO know who Aslan is.

    Much of the excitement, awe, and anticipation over meeting Aslan is lost if you read LWW second. Because we already know who he is. If you read LWW first, we’re in the same boat as the kids. We don’t know Aslan is. We don’t know he’s a lion, and we don’t know why his name makes the kids feel that way.

    In SC, Lewis mentions the story of HHB and says "I don't have time to tell it now but it is well worth hearing." If you have already read HHB, your reaction is "uhh you already told that story."

    LWW ends with "it was only the beginning of the adventures of Narnia." Why would book #2 end that way?

  27. glumPuddle says:

    Lewis was alive for several years after LB was published and never asked that the order be changed. Decades after his death, the publisher decides to change the order and say it is in compliance with Lewis' wishes. This is simply not true. Lewis never asked that the order be changed.

  28. Princess Lucy says:

    i was wondering what order of books should the ones who haven't read it should read….i have read the books through C.S. Lewis prefered order…because i thought it would be the correct way…therefore i read MN,LWW,HHB,PC,VDT,SC, and LB…but i have found it the correct way as it doesn't really confuse the audiences..well it really didn't confuse me…

  29. Princess Lucy says:

    but i do understand what you are saying Glumpuddle…now i am confuse between C.S Lewis prefered order or the original…hmmmm…

  30. glumPuddle says:

    Princess Lucy, CS Lewis preferred to read his own books in chronological order. That does not mean he would want everyone to read them that way.

  31. Fausto says:

    as if you would know know more than Douglas Gresham.. uh huh….

  32. Sir Jack says:

    "And being a complete and utter Narnia fanatical purist, any comma they moved to me is an anathema."
    It's just great to know Douglas Gresham is there, taking care that nothing REALY bad happens to the storry..
    btw I love that pic!

  33. freya says:

    Too late, Doug. I'm already hopelessly, utterly in love with everything Ben Barnes/King Caspian. Pathetic really, but I don't care *wanders off in a daze*

  34. Princess Lucy says:

    thankyou Glumpuddle….i have watched your video i'm assuming it is…and i totally agree with the statement of reading LWW before MN as we remember events in LWW when we read MN…for instance the lampost and we get excited…so for my final decision i have wished i have read the original order…even though i knew the story of LWW from the film…before reading the books…thanxs for bringing up these ideas i would not think of ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Eviliini says:

    Wow. I've always thought the books should be read in the order they were published, and I thought Jack did too. Confused now. Sorry, Jack, but I think you're wrong. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  36. FriendOfNarnia2 says:

    It's similar to the issue of which order the Star Wars films should be watched in. Even though episode 1 comes first, it is better for someone who has not seen any of the films to start with episode 4.

    Once someone has seen all the Star Wars films, it doesn't matter which order they watch them in. It may actually be better to watch them chronologically.

  37. Yerdif says:

    Here here!

  38. Yerdif says:

    Actually, I think they should be read in chronological order, just so you can follow the chronicle from beginning to end without jumping around. ๐Ÿ˜€ If we ever get the movie versions of the other books, I would also watch the movies in chronilogical order.

  39. Josh says:

    Here is the way I see it. When you read the books for the first time, its better to read them the order they were published.

    But if and when you read the books a second time, you should read it Chronoclogically. I personally prefer the chronological order, but I can see why the films are being made in publishing order.

  40. Kerri says:

    I'll never forget the first time I read MN after reading LWW, and that was over 30 years ago! To read about Digory being the professor, and the Wardrobe being made from the tree that grew from that special fruit that healed his mother. Oh, the sense of awe! Definately read them in the order that they were written and published in! Those moments of joy are precious and memorable.

  41. glumPuddle says:

    Gresham is not claiming that Lewis wanted the order of the books changed. In the interview, Gresham says that at some point, Lewis mentioned that he preferred to read his own books in "chronological" order. That does not mean Lewis wanted everyone in the world to read them in that order. Especially first-time readers.

  42. glumPuddle says:

    CS Lewis NEVER said that they should be read in "chronological" order. He only said that he himself preferred to read his own books in that order. That does not mean he wanted everyone to read them in that order.

  43. glumPuddle says:

    Exactly, Josh! It does not really matter what order you re-read the books in. What matters is the first reading.

    Lewis said that he preferred to re-read his own books in "chronological" order. If he was asked about what order should be used for a first time reader, his answer may have been different.

    The inside cover of all the books now say that HarperCollins has re-numbered the books in compliance with Lewis' wishes. This is simply not true. Lewis never asked that the books be re-numbered. He merely expressed a personal preference for how he chose to read the books he wrote.
    (I believe it was HarperCollins that also included short character bios that mistakenly said the WW and LotGK were the same character…which is one of the things that created all the confusion)

  44. Reepicheep says:

    What an awesome interview!

  45. SavedByGrace says:

    Ditto! I am so glad that he's involved with the movies. He has my upmost respect.

  46. Scrubbers says:

    My point is an inconsequential line like that will not confuse people. Most people will understand that each individual story is written as an individual story with it's own individual narration. ("Individual" in the sense that no book is a direct sequel or prequel to another book, and "direct" meaning that that no book is a cliffhanger that leads into the next book.)

    As for the comment on the commentary (no pun intended) reading a book series in a specific order is completely different then watching a film with a voiceover of the director's comments for the entire duration of the film. Reading the magicians nephew will not alter someone's perception of the rest of the series. If people ultimately read the entire series, what does it matter?

    Consider this example: many people read the Lord of the Rings without having read the Hobbit first. This is such a standard occurrence that Peter Jackson went so far as to create a trilogy based on the Lord of the Rings without having made a Hobbit film first. (Albeit, the Lord of the Ring's film trilogy contained a lengthy prologue, and Peter Jackson initially intended on creating a trilogy with the first film based on the Hobbit, and the final two movies on the Lord of the Rings.)

  47. emijoy says:

    I'd much rather read the books in publication order. It's much more interesting that way. for exammple, if i had read MN first, I would have been confused because I wouldn't have known who professor kirke was or anything about the wardrobe, lampost, witch, etc. It was interesting to go back and learn how narnia came to be after I had already been introduced to the series.

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