At Cannes, Greta Gerwig Talks About ‘Collaborating’ with C.S. Lewis and Her Eight-Year-Old Self for Netflix’s Narnia

I find myself — it sounds maybe mystical — but it’s like you have a collaborator, and the collaborator is both C.S. Lewis and who I was when I was eight.

Greta Gerwig is headed to Narnia soon, but this month, she’s taking a detour to the French Riviera for the Cannes Film Festival.

Gerwig, the writer and director for Netflix’s upcoming Narnia adaptations, is serving as president of the jury for the twelve-day event, where twenty-two films will premiere.

On the first day of the festival, Gerwig caught up with French media outlet Brut for a chat, where she was asked about her experience adapting her childhood favorites Little Women and The Chronicles of Narnia.

Trapenard: Greta, you’re working on a Narnia movie, which takes you back to literature after your 2019 adaptation of Little Women. As an artist, what are you looking for in your childhood and teenage readings?

Gerwig: I think when you take a piece of literature that you loved as a child and then you’re reapproaching it as an adult, you sort of have a double consciousness. I felt that very strongly with Little Women because I had an experience reading it when I was young, and then when I read it when I was a grown woman, I saw things in the text I had never seen before.

As a writer and a thinker, C.S. Lewis is so rich and he’s so erudite. He’s written so much about different things that there’s a lot to dig into, and I find myself — it sounds maybe mystical — but it’s like you have a collaborator, and the collaborator is both C.S. Lewis and who I was when I was eight.

And so you’re always checking in with your child and this person who you’ve never met and you’re not going to be able to meet.

Watch the clip here:

The Cannes Film Festival is also renowned for its red carpet fashion, and eagle-eyed fans have noticed that Greta Gerwig’s cloven-toed heels on the first day might be a nod to a certain famous faun’s hoofs.

This isn’t the only fashion tidbit that might interest Narnia fans: earlier this month at the Met Gala, Gerwig said she would be wearing capes for her next film project, after wearing jumpsuits when directing Barbie.

But although these fashion details might seem evocative of the iconic Mr. Tumnus and winter landscapes of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, it’s not yet known which Narnia book Greta Gerwig will be adapting first for Netflix. Here’s everything we do know.

13 Responses

  1. Courtenay says:

    Very encouraging that a few times now, she’s shown a lot of respect for C.S. Lewis — and that she’s still able to see the books through the eyes of her 8-year-old-self as well as her adult self! I’m getting more and more intrigued as to what her version of Narnia will turn out like.

  2. Cleander says:

    I am most pleased. She sounds like she’s got the two most important things right, namely:
    1. Respecting C.S. Lewis
    2. Wearing capes on set.

  3. Will says:

    It’s so frustrating that in all these interviews, no interviewer ever asks her exactly what book she’s adapting.

  4. coracle says:

    Does she mean a short cape, or a long cloak? Will it just be a fashion item or an actual warm layer because of working in a cold location? *waits to see*

  5. Col Klink says:

    I was really pleased to see this headline since I was thinking that since it’s now 2024, we’d be getting fewer interviews with Gerwig, the main reason people were interviewing her being that she directed one of the highest grossing movies on 2023. (Was it the highest period? I forget.) I was a bit disappointed that this quote from her was so similar to something she said in an earlier interview but, hey, that’s better than a new quote that sounds bad. And I do like the idea of movie adaptations being like collaborations between the author of the original work and the screenwriter for the new version.

  6. jasmine_tarkheena says:

    This sure got interesting! I am still wondering what two books she’s going to do?

    I’m also wondering with she means by wearing capes on set? Is it similar to the Middle Earth universe, in wearing long cloaks when traveling? Could it be possible if Narnia is going to be filmed in a cold location?

    We shall find out soon enough!

  7. Moonwood the Hare says:

    Capes make me think either of LWW or SC… if that’s what she was hinting at.

  8. Narnian78 says:

    I think this video shows that Greta has a lot of respect for Lewis. Even though she cannot collaborate with Lewis since she lives in a completely different time she can remain faithful to his ideas. That is what I am hoping for because her attitude seems like it is in the right place. 🙂

  9. As someone else said above, it is nice to see that Gerwig is showing dignity and respect to the man C S Lewis. It also seems like she has read some of his other writings. I think a screenwriter might enjoy his literary academic works about medieval literature. Especially if she likes worldbuilding – as in her writing/direction of Barbie – and fairy tales – as in, Narnia.

    I think it is great that she feels like she’s collaborating with her 8 year old self. I find that people who recall what childhood was like, in a positive way, are normally very nice adults too.

    There is an element of sadness that she can never meet Lewis. But one day in Heaven, maybe?

    I was feeling discouraged this evening and I clicked on my Narniaweb shortcut and prayed that I would find some Narnia news here. I’m so glad I did find some!

  10. Aleksis says:

    It’s nice that even though adults and children see different things while reading the books they’re both able to love them equally. I kind of liked the books maybe even more when I read them as an adult!

    Somehow I’m getting the feeling that she’s going to do the Lion the witch and the wardrobe first. I hope I’m wrong since I would prefer seeing a version of the magician’s nephew.

  11. J says:

    I still think she’s gonna do The Magician’s Nephew first, mostly because it’s the better bet at this point: It may not be the best story to begin with, but it’s a good story to start a chronology with. And it’s a new Narnia story never before seen on screen, which is a HUGE deal. And because of the stand-alone nature of the MN book, she doesn’t have to quickly follow up with the next installment; She can take her time developing film 2 (and so on, I hope she would stay on for more movies in some capacity.) But whichever book they adapt first I’m getting excited at the prospect of new adaptations due to her apparent respect and reverence for the source material and for Lewis.

  12. Impending Doom says:

    Love this!

  13. Jack Tollers says:

    This is encouraging to hear…I’m still holding out for an adaptation of The Magician’s Nephew, although it would be nice to see a fresher take on Wardrobe.