How many times have you watched The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Since I’m talking to fans, I’m sure you’ve watched the movie several times—but how often have you taken the time to go Behind-the-Scenes and get a glimpse at what happened while filming this great movie? Maybe you have done this often, or perhaps it’s been a long time since you have seen it, or you haven’t seen it at all. In any case, it’s always fun to read about facts that happened to the actors while creating Walden’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Hope you enjoy the facts below!
- The first filmed scene for the Pevensie actors was actually the scene where the four of them are in the train on their way to Professor Kirke’s house in the country.
- There are times when performances can be doubly convincing to the viewer when the scene is actually a surprise to the actor as well. Georgie Henley, the actress for Lucy Pevensie, had a very interesting experience when she entered the set for the wintry land of Narnia. Georgie had never seen this set on her first take, thus her entrance was her actual reaction to the world created by the film crew. She was also not permitted to see her co-actor, James McAvoy, in his Mr. Tumnus costume until the moment she was to meet him on camera.
- At the beginning scene of the air raid you may remember a window shattering behind Edmund and Peter. It was sugar glass and William Moseley (Peter) convinced Skandar Keynes (Edmund) to eat some of it.
- There is a certain scene where Anna Popplewell, who portrays Susan Pevensie on screen, had a little fun of her own accord. When Aslan storms onto the battlefield with the Narnians he rescued from the Witch’s castle, Susan runs up to the edge of a cliff. At that point Anna shot one of her arrows over the cliff even though she had not been instructed to do so. Anna commented that the arrow was perhaps still there in New Zealand.
- Skandar was consuming a lot of sugar during the scene where the Witch gives him Turkish Delight. Due to this, one time he was given Turkish Delight made of plexiglass and Skandar said to the director, “Andrew, I can’t eat it.” The total number of actual Turkish Delight pieces Skandar said he ate was thirty-five.
- William Moseley was amazed at how intricate and detailed the sets were. One example of this was that, at Aslan’s camp, there was something inside each tent. The extra things on set were often times not even seen on camera.
- Some things can be easily achieved in film and still look great. You remember the unicorn Peter rode during the battle near the end of the film? The horse’s horn was simply glued on.
Training to be a Narnian
- A lot of dedication goes into making these films. Acting goes beyond simply memorizing lines. Actors often have to be taught special skills. William Moseley was trained in horse riding and he became quite accomplished that when they filmed the battle scene Andrew Adamson chose mostly scenes of William on the horse to include in the movie. Though they had stunt doubles do some of the shots, Andrew thought William had better posture than the doubles.
- We know that Susan was an excellent archer in the Narnia series. In order to portray the character of Susan, Anna Popplewell had the experience of being instructed by an Olympic Archery expert.
- In the scene where Mr. Tumnus takes Lucy back to the lamp-post, James McAvoy had a cold and his prosthetic nose ended up coming off his face.
- During the children’s trek over to Mr. Tumnus’ house there is a scene of Peter running and tumbling into the snow. At that moment William hit his leg on a piece of wood, which he said was quite painful.
- During the bombing scene at the beginning of the film, Peter rushes after Edmund to stop him as he is retrieving their Father’s picture from the house. In one of the takes, William yelled out Skandar’s name instead of Edmund’s.
Lines & Scenes
- Lines can cause a bit of trouble. The most-said line, due to Andrew Adamson’s own imagination of it, were Peter’s words “No more ice” during the closing of the Father Christmas scene. They kept shooting the line over and over again for him to try and get it right.
- “Told you he was real” was another line during the Father Christmas scene, spoken by Lucy. It was meant to be put at the beginning of the scene but Andrew decided to place it near the end, believing it gave the line more of a humorous note.
- When the Pevensies are preparing to board the train at the beginning of the film, Edmund gets annoyed with Susan grabbing his hand. Skandar Keynes improvised “I know how to get on a train by myself” during this part.
- Andrew decided to add a humorous line to the discussion between Peter and Aslan (“Beaver also mentioned that you planned on turning him into a hat.”) . The problem with this was that the scene had already been filmed. Andrew searched the clips and found a scene of William smiling, the reason being that a fly had buzzed around William’s head during the shot. Andrew was able to salvage that take and include it in the film.
- “Well, my mum’s name is Helen” is one of Lucy’s lines to Mr. Tumnus, though it had not always included that specific name. Two others they had used were Miriam and Violet. The line finally included is somewhat funny, for Helen is the actual name of Georgie Henley’s mother.
- After the Pevensies’ coronation, there was meant to be a dance at Cair Paravel.
- There was also a scene during the time at Cair Paravel when Lucy gave Tumnus a gift: a little pair of golden horn tips. You can actually see them in the film when Tumnus speaks to Queen Lucy about Aslan.
- The set of the Witch’s castle was made of fiber glass, and had many Kino Flo lights to help it look made out of ice.
- When the four children first arrive at the train stop in the country and meet Mrs. Macready, the train station was not a real one in England as one would suppose it could be, but a set built in New Zealand to resemble an English one.
- The scene where the wolves are released to search for Edmund’s siblings, some of the real wolves that circled the beaver’s dam looked very happy and excited, wagging their tails. Some of the tails had to be replaced with CG tails to make the wolves look more sinister.
- Though the song Mr. Tumnus plays for Lucy had already been scored and had been played on set for James McAvoy to match the fingering, the man who played the duduk redid the song to match James’ fingers more accurately.
I hope you enjoyed reading these facts and that it whets your appetite to learn more about what goes into making a film and the fun facts you can discover by watching Behind-the-Scenes. Anna Popplewell said of the filming process for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: “…it’s really easy to watch a film just as a story, but I hope that through watching it they can experience some of the enjoyment that we got out of filming it.”