Douglas Gresham: Prince Caspian Play is Better Than the Movie

Douglas Gresham, step-son of C.S. Lewis, was a co-producer on Disney/Walden’s The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008). But, he prefers the new stage adaptation at The Logos Theatre in Taylors, SC.

This is the first time Prince Caspian has been seen on a professional stage. Read our review.

Gresham: “I rather enjoyed [the play] more than the film we made out of it. The film, of course, has all the high technology and computer-generated imagery and all that sort of stuff that we can do very well. But, I felt that our script was a little bit lost in the translation from the book. I would like to have stayed closer to the book. And [the play] did. But, I suppose I’m a Narnia purist in one sense. I don’t like to change the book at all if we can avoid it. And there are certain scenes and areas where we have to. But sometimes in the movies, I think we get carried away and make changing it for change’s sake. And [the play] didn’t do that.”

This is just short clip from the 16-minute discussion between Douglas Gresham and Director Nicole Stratton included on “The Making of Prince Caspian” DVD. Later in the video, Gresham describes a couple changes from the book that he approved of: Opening the play with a prologue explaining the origin of the Telmarines, and fleshing out the relationship between young Caspian and his nurse.

The final run of Prince Caspian at The Logos Theatre ends on April 28 (discounted tickets). Watch an exclusive clip of the Treasure Chamber scene.

The Logos Theatre will be adapting The Horse and His Boy for the stage next (view trailer). Support the production at their GoFundMe page. Unfortunately, the DVD release has been cancelled.

Caspian’s nurse tells him about Old Narnia


10 Responses

  1. Impending Doom says: – Your Source for Logos Theatre News Since 2018

  2. I am glad to read that he feels that way. I honestly thought that he may have sold out, to the detriment of the film. But I can see that I was wrong and I am glad I was.

    • HermitoftheNorthernMarch says:

      He never sold out, he was in a difficult position and had to make deals with people who didn't see the book the same way. If he had said, "You HAVE to do it this way." They simply would not have listened to him and we would've lost all his influence on the film.
      Also, for all the things I think they missed, I do like the movies, and I really appreciate all the work the actors, and artists, and behind the scenes people did making movies for all of us who like Narnia.

  3. Just Queen, not High Queen says:

    I understand how he feels that way. The last time I reread Prince Caspian though, I did feel that there were some things that the movie improved on. Structurally, it is a difficult book to adapt, which is why the BBC version felt kind of awkward in the first half.
    Either way, wish I could see the play.

  4. JFG says:

    I suspect I know why the 2008 movie screenwriters changed aspects of the Caspian book –

    "Create New Battle Sequences / Make Caspian the Leading Main Character Instead of Pevensies / Take Out Backstory of Caspian / Make Caspian's Age More Adult"

    – these changes felt more commercial in tone than artistically.
    I myself can imagine a few different ways the story could have been structured and adapted to film – Some are more effective, some, not so much.

    I think that, ultimately, the writers did a disservice to the movie franchise by not giving the book the respect it deserved (treating it firstly as a stand-alone sequel story) and instead focused on beefing up the spectacle to be more like "Dark Fantasy" entertainment.

    Narnia could never hit that mark. It never was created to.

    But apparently, Disney thought it was, and when they realized it wasn't "Dark Fantasy" box office success, they dropped it.

    Hopefully Tri-Star does not make the same mistake with The Silver Chair adaptation.

    • John says:

      Good points! Those changes do seem commerical, and it definitely had a sort of dark fantasy tone. Not that the Prince Capsian book is particularly light hearted since it is a war story, but they definitely went overboard with that, making the dark fantasy tone extend even to all of the characters except for maybe Lucy, Edmund, Reepicheep and Aslan.

  5. Throne Warden says:

    There is little doubt in my mind that many of the changes made to the movie version of Prince Caspian were initiated in order to make it a better movie. I agree with some of the parts they edited out- Bacchus and Silenus would have been confusing and unnecessary. However, I firmly believe that their fatal flaw was cutting out the scene where Aslan has Lucy awaken the other kings and queens. That is the central conflict of the story for the Pevensies. Will they trust Lucy and follow what they cannot see? Will they believe the unbelievable and trust the littlest member of the group? Will Lucy trust Aslan enough to obey and stand firm despite what the rest of the group says. Cutting out this scene left a void they tried to fill with Peter acting very un-kingly and the conflict with Caspian and the conflict over the night raid etc. Leaving out this scene cut out the heart of the story and left a huge Aslan sized vacancy in the story.

    • HermitoftheNorthernMarch says:

      You're on the mark here. I was really sad that Lucy seeing Aslan in the movie was only a dream. It seems like in their attempt to appeal to an older audience they also treated the story in a more grown-up pessimistic mentality. Also, it is hard to see Peter act so rude. He's already had a year to deal with not being High King back in England, plus he is actually a lot older from his first time in Narnia. I can see that it would be hard for him to go back to Narnia and find that it's been taken over by Telmarines, but I think his previous experience would have made him act more mature.

      • Throne Warden says:

        I agree completely, HermitoftheNorthernMarch. To add on to your thought, not only is it jarring and strange to see Peter acting like a power-hungry, threatened little boy in the PC movie, it directly contradicts the High King Peter that is put forth in the book. Peter is not only acting positively un-kingly, but un-Narnian. That's not how a king behaves! Nowhere in the book do we see a Narnian king behave in such an undignified, selfish, and petty way as we do Peter in the movie. And to try to justify it by saying that he is having a hard time adjusting back to just being a boy makes me feel as if the writers of the PC movie script understood very little about the nature of Narnia. Peter is no less a high king in our world than he was in Narnia. He may not be in charge or leading armies to fight giants, but his character and integrity is always that of the High King, Narnia or no Narnia. He was changed by Narnia, in much the same way that Eustace was changed. Eustace didn't go back to being a stuck up spoiled brat of a boy when he left Narnia. It changed him for good. Peter is the same way.

        It's not about transition or adjusting to English boarding school life- Peter is acting the boy in the movie, not the king. In the book, there is no glimpse of Peter the stubborn, of Peter the Petty. In the movie, there is hardly a glimpse of Peter the High King.

  6. CJR says:

    The play looks fantastic, I would love to see it!

    I did enjoy the Walden Media adaptation. It has its own place and serves a purpose of introducing an audience that may not have otherwise read the Narnia books, to the story. I know people that read the books as a result of seeing the movie, so while the adaptation wasn't perfect, it grew the fan-base.

    Now, the third film…..