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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Prince Caspian

by Always Narnian

You may recall that several articles back I discussed certain facts behind the making of Walden’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In this one, I will do much the same thing with the second film of the series, Prince Caspian. I hope you will enjoy the facts listed below and that they will continue to build your curiosity about what goes into making films and what happens behind-the-scenes.

Locations and Sets

  • This film was shot mainly on location. While 40% of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was shot on location, Prince Caspian surpassed it with 60-65% of the film being shot on location.
  • The few shots of the street scenes in the beginning of Prince Caspian of Lucy and Susan were actually filmed in Prague, though it was meant to resemble London in the movie. The lion statue that is shown was already there on the street and fit perfectly into the film.
  • Trufflehunter’s home is a tight squeeze, especially for actor Ben Barnes. When they went to rehearse the scene, Ben was almost too tall for the badger’s cave which required the film crew to shave off 3-4 inches from the ceiling. After that, he was able to stand more easily inside the set.
  • There was a forest in Poland covered with ferns that Andrew Adamson wanted to film in. However, due to the price of traveling to that location, they brought around 5,000 potted ferns into a forest near Prague to make it resemble the one in Poland instead. This was a cheaper option for them.
  • So many different techniques can be used in filming, even a change of location for the same setting in a movie. For example, the gorge the Pevensies are standing by at the scene where Lucy sees Aslan was a gorge in Poland— when they finally believe Lucy and go down the gorge and cross the water at its bottom, the gorge they are traveling through was in New Zealand.

How Did They Do It?

  • The scene where the Telmarine soldiers attempt to kill Prince Caspian after Miraz’s son is born is a very intense moment. To achieve the visual of Caspian’s curtained bed being fired at by crossbows, there were small explosives set up in the bed to make the feathers of the mattress fly into the air. There were also small threads in the curtains that could be pulled on so that the tears would be in the correct spots.
  • You remember the scene where Caspian is dragged through the woods by his horse? This scene was achieved by Ben laying atop a metal plate, his foot fastened to a cart that would then pull him along the ground.
  • In the scene with the river god, you may remember that when the Telmarines are in the water the river starts to empty. Instead of using the complicated hydraulics they had specifically created for this scene, they asked the actors to crouch down and then stand up again, making it appear as if the river was vanishing just as you see it in the finished film.

Did You Notice?

  • Remember when Edmund stands up for Lucy at the gorge when she sees Aslan? Before the shooting of a close-up for this scene, Skandar Keynes had just banged his lip on a bar while walking around set. You can see him tucking in his lip in an attempt to make it unnoticeable on screen.
  • Prosthetics can be deceiving. Peter Dinklage, the actor for Trumpkin, had a very large prosthetic brow while in costume, which they described as having “the frown built in.” During the first stages of filming, this prosthetic made it seem as if Peter was glaring at Andrew. Andrew would ask Peter if he was okay, to which he would reply, “It’s the makeup!”
  • Did you ever consider minotaurs as being good? There is a scene in Prince Caspian where Peter sees a minotaur walking by and prepares to attack it. As you may remember, there were no good minotaurs in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and this shot in Prince Caspian was supposed to be the first minotaur to be seen in this film. Andrew Adamson believed he muffed the suspense because he had put these creatures in a previous scene with Caspian and the Narnians instead of waiting for this moment to reveal minotaurs could be evil or good.

Cameras and Action!

  • In one scene of the Night Raid on Miraz’s castle, Edmund slides down a roof and onto an archer on the top of the wall. There is a brief shot of Edmund’s feet, with the soldier beyond them. This shot was actually achieved by strapping a camera onto Skandar, who then did the stunt while filming it.
  • Peter’s running mount onto his horse during the night raid scene was actually performed by William Moseley, not a stunt double.
  • Imagine having to film a fight scene on a hill and having to accurately swing your sword at a small plasticine area of tree so you don’t damage the actual tree itself. This is what William Moseley had to do when they were filming the fight between Caspian and Peter when they first meet.
  • Peter and Miraz’s duel near the end of the film was choreographed as a 110-beat fight. William was taught this impressive fight within about three days.

Funny Incidents

  • The scene where the Pevensies are camping around the fire was shot in a huge studio that they said “had its own climate.” Bugs began to be seen on set and during the conversation between Lucy and Susan, Andrew had to digitally remove ants that had gotten onto Georgie’s and Anna’s arms.
  • Pierfrancesco Favino, the actor for Glozelle, has played in a few other movies with actor Sergio Castellitto (Miraz). Prince Caspian was the third film that required Sergio to slap Pierfrancesco.
  • The talented animator of Reepicheep got to have a small part in the film— a soldier that was slain by Reepicheep’s own hand. Andrew joked that “Reepicheep gets to kill his creator.”

Did You Know?

  • The Pevensie’s Treasure Chamber set had lots of small things on the floor, such as rocks. You may remember that the Pevensies are barefoot during this scene, having come from the beach. Anna had to wear moleskin on her feet to go across this set, due to her feet being sensitive.
  • During the night meeting where Caspian gives a speech to the Narnians, a small squirrel moves along the tree branch and asks a question. This squirrel was voiced by Harry Gregson-Williams, the composer of the scores for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian.
  • At the part where the Pevensies first enter Aslan’s How, centaurs on either side of them raise their swords in salute. You get a quick look at a small centaur, who is holding his sword too low. This centaur was played by Gomez Sandoval, the son of Isis Mussenden (the costume designer). They asked him what he wanted his character’s name to be and he chose “Lightning Bolt.” Andrew included the name in the credits of the film.
  • Excluding the actors for the Pevensie children (since they were cast in the previous film), Peter Dinklage was practically the first person to be cast for his role as Trumpkin the dwarf in Prince Caspian. Andrew said they created Trumpkin’s part in the movie specifically for Peter Dinklage.
  • In the very dramatic scene of Prince Caspian escaping from Miraz’s castle, a Telmarine caller is announcing the birth of Miraz and Prunaprismia’s son. His voice was played by Douglas Gresham. It was commented that the Telmarine accent was taught to Douglas in 6-and-a-half minutes by the dialect coach working on the movie.
  • During a brief scene at the end of the film, Caspian and the Pevensies ride through the streets in a type of parade. Many of the film crew’s families were there as extras. Andrew Adamson’s parents can be seen in a window, waving to those going by.

Though there are so many more facts that could be shared, I will leave that to you. What are other facts you may remember from having watched the behind-the-scenes? Share them below!

Latest on The Silver Chair film (what we know and what we don’t)

By Ajnos Gamgee

There has been a lot of information doing the rounds recently with regards to the production of the fourth Chronicles of Narnia film, The Silver Chair. We at The Lion’s Call endeavour to keep our followers updated with as accurate information as possible so we thought we’d give a summary of what we do (and don’t) know about the upcoming film and some of the recent rumours.

As far back as 2006, when hopes were that the Narnia movie franchise would be more successful than it has been, there were plans to follow the well-received 2005 film, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, with the three Narnia stories that relate to Prince Caspian and his family: i.e. Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair. [1]

Things didn’t go quite as planned, however, and the films took longer to make. Disney dropped the franchise after Prince Caspian, and the Dawn Treader film, which was already in progress, was picked up by Fox (still in conjunction with Walden Media).

After the release of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 2010, there was discussion by Walden Media to produce not The Silver Chair as the next film, but the first of the Narnia stories (chronologically speaking, though written much later), The Magician’s Nephew. [2]

Nothing official was decided, however. At a meeting in Oxford in 2013, Douglas Gresham (of the CS Lewis Company, and Lewis’ stepson) stated that he was interested in producing The Silver Chair as the next film idependently from Walden Media. Because of film rights issues, this would mean placing a seven year moratorium on producing that film. [3] (It was never entirely clear, but it seemed that the seven year moratorium was from the time of the release of VDT, making the earliest possible release date 2017, assuming production would be permitted before this date).

Then, on 1 October 2013, it was announced that The Silver Chair would indeed be the next film produced. An official press release stated that Mark Gordon (of the Mark Gordon Company) along with Vincent Sieber and Douglas Gresham (of the CS Lewis Company) would be producing this new film. [4] On 5 December 2013, David Magee was announced as the script-writer. [5] The only other official news coming from those involved was in July 2014 when a competition was announced inviting fans to come up with a name for the evil witch in the tale (usually dubbed “the Lady of the Green Kirtle”). [6] Since then, there has been silence on the film from all official sources. There have been no announcements either that the film has been abandoned or on future plans. No casting has been announced.

Note that The Silver Chair was for most of this time always intended as the fourth film in the series. Due to the nature of the book series (the different time settings and the fact that it was originally published in a different order to that in which the stories take place), what ought to be the correct order to produce the films has never been entirely clear. We are not aware of there having been any desires to skip either The Silver Chair or The Magician’s Nephew on religious or other grounds (as has been claimed).

With regards to the release date, there has been no official statement from the CS Lewis Foundation or any other stakeholders. IMDB lists the release date as 2016 and this date has been doing the rounds recently. The moratorium, however, would suggest that a date earlier than 2017 is impossible. In addition, since, as far as we know, there has been no casting, no filming can have been done yet and therefore a 2016 release date is unrealistic if not impossible.

In the last few days, much excitement has been generated around an alleged twitter post by the film’s script-writer David Magee. It is said to have come from his private twitter account which, since this account is private, cannot be verified. In it, he claims to have just completed the final draft of The Silver Chair script. As mentioned, this cannot be verified and there is no official statement or announcement regarding this outside of an apparent screenshot of what he is supposed to have said. It is, of course, possible that he has been working on the script while the moratorium is being allowed to run its course and may have shared information about this on his private account. With a basic version of the script complete, this could lead to further developments from the production side including, ultimately, casting. We can hope, regardless of the authenticity of the tweet or not, that the filmmakers are quietly working behind- the-scenes at the first stages of bringing this long-anticipated tale to life on the big screen. But, as said, nothing is official.

We at TLC will be sure to update you should any further announcements be made. But for now, this is what we know: The Silver Chair is planned with producers and a script-writer assigned. All other work is happening behind the scenes and we do not expect any appearance of the final product before 2017, but possibly later. What we hope however, is that it will be worth the wait.

References

[1] This information is based on the author’s own memory of having read as much in 2006. She takes full responsibility for any inaccuracy regarding this.
[2] Narnia Fans: Magician’s Nephew Film
[3] The author was present at this meeting and quotes from memory. The information was later communicated and published on this site in an article no longer available and also here
[4] Press Release
[5] Narnia Fans: Scriptwriter
[6] Narnia.com LotGK Competition

Similarities between Digory Kirke and CS Lewis

By Ajnos Gamgee

Like most authors, CS Lewis often drew on people and events from real life to inspire his characters and his writing. Perhaps most famously, he based everyone’s favourite opti-pessimest, Puddleglum, on Fred Paxford, the long-time gardener at the Kilns. But what about his own life? Lewis also drew inspiration for his stories from things that he had experienced. In particular, as we celebrate 60 years since the publication of The Magician’s Nephew, I would like to take a look at some of the similarities between his character Digory Kirke from The Magician’s Nephew (the Professor from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and CS Lewis.

The most obvious link between CS Lewis and Professor Kirke, of course, would be their professorship. Looking at the books in the order they were written (since that’s the order in which Lewis conceived of and developed his characters), we are first introduced to Digory as a grown man in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In Britain, the title Professor is an esteemed one only given to senior academic staff, usually those who hold a chair (often a head of department).  Lewis himself was an academic, and although never was granted a chair or professorship at Oxford (he held the lower ranks of “fellow” and “tutor”), he was finally offered a Professorship at Cambridge in 1984. [1]

When we first meet the Professor he is, like Lewis, a bachelor living in a large house in the countryside (away from London). He welcomes the four Pevensie children to stay in his house over the summer in order to escape the horrors of the Blitz during WWII. Lewis himself lived in the Kilns – not an overly large house, but set on a very large property. While not in the country as such, it was located in Headington, which in those days was considered a village outside of Oxford. Even today, though technically now a suburb, it has much of the feel of a country setting with the small woodlands on the property converted into a nature reserve; definitely something of a great contrast to the hustle and bustle of London. Like Professor Kirke, Professor Lewis too opened up his home as a safe-haven for children during the War, and one summer he had four children staying at the Kilns. Having these children in his house is thought to have both inspired Lewis to start writing children’s stories and to have given him the idea for the opening setting of his first Narnia book. [2]

As mentioned, Professor Kirke is a bachelor when we first meet him. Despite his childhood friendship with Polly Plummer, and their continued friendship, it seems he never married. Lewis too was still a bachelor at the time he wrote LWW although he later met, befriended and finally married Joy Davidman.

Professor Kirke does not play a major role in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but there is one rather powerful scene where Peter and Susan come to him with Lucy’s tales about the magic wood in the Wardrobe. He suggests to them that since Lucy isn’t prone to telling lies and has no evidence of being mad, they should consider the possibility that she might be telling the truth. This reasoning mirrors almost directly what has become one of CS Lewis’ best known doctrines regarding the deity of Christ, famously called “The Trilemma”. If Jesus Christ was not mad (a lunatic) nor deliberately misrepresenting himself (a liar) then he must have been who he claimed to be (the Lord). Lewis was almost certainly alluding to the trilemma when he wrote the professor’s argument for believing Lucy. [3]

But it is not only as an adult that Professor Digory Kirke’s life mirrors that of the author who created him. A few years after LWW was published, Lewis decided to give us more information on the mysterious Professor’s background. The Professor is introduced to us in The Magician’s Nephew as a young boy (Digory Kirke) with a terminally sick mother, brought to London to stay with his odd uncle and aunt. When CS Lewis was a young boy, his mother too, suffered and ultimately died from cancer, which was incredibly difficult for a young boy to witness. It is almost certain that his own experiences were the inspiration for those of young Digory. But in the fictional, account Lewis was able to provide a miraculous cure for Digory’s mother and give Digory the unexpected joy of seeing his mother healed against the odds, something I’m sure Lewis himself had dreamed of as a child.

Another similarity between the boy Lewis and the boy Digory is that both were taken away from an idyllic childhood home to what they saw as a far less pleasant setting. For Digory, he had had to move with his mother from his beautiful country home to a small cramped London house. Lewis’ situation was a little different. When he was about 10, he was sent to boarding school in England (where at first he felt very much an outsider), away from the family home called Little Lea in beautiful green Ireland. [4]

Interestingly, while there are these various similarities between the chief boy protagonist of The Magician’s Nephew and Lewis’ childhood, we also see Lewis using himself as a model for a few aspects of his chief female protagonist in the same book. Lewis began making up stories and writing at a young age, inventing the world of Boxen (a land with anthropomorphic animals). He and his brother Warnie would play games and make up stories about Boxen, often in the attic of their house. [5] In The Magician’s Nephew, it is Polly Plummer, who becomes Digory’s friend and co-adventurer, who has a secret hideaway in the attic where, among other things, she sits and writes secret stories.

One final similarity between Digory Kirke and CS Lewis is the time period in which they lived. In LWW, the Professor is a middle-aged man, probably about the same age as Lewis at his time of writing. The Magician’s Nephew is thought to have been set around 1900 (certainly before WWI) and Lewis was born in 1898. This means Lewis and Digory’s childhoods would have been roughly equivalent. This lends a lot of believability to his description of Digory because Lewis himself knew just what it was like to be a young boy at the turn of the century. It does raise some interesting questions about what things happened in Digory’s life between the events of MN and LWW. Was Digory a university student at the outbreak of WWI (and which university did he attend)? Was he conscripted and did he fight in the war? How did the war and subsequent depression affect Digory’s life? These are interesting questions on which we can only speculate. But thinking of the similarities between Digory and Lewis himself might help us to picture some of what could have happened in the Professor’s life during those intervening years.

Are there any other similarities between Digory Kirke and CS Lewis that you can think of? Share your ideas in the comments below.

References:
[1] Wikipedia. CS Lewis: Biography
[2] Harper Collins Children’s. About CS Lewis.
[3] CS Lewis. 1952. Mere Christianity. London: Collins.
[4] Wikipedia. CS Lewis: “My Irish Life”.
[5] E.J. Kirk. Beyond the Wardrobe: Official Guide to Narnia. Harper Collins. p. 16, 21

Loose Strings in The Magician’s Nephew

By Tenethia South

Authors of fanfiction are constantly looking for loose ends and unwritten scenes in novels to expound upon for their newest piece, and as an author of fanfiction myself, I am no different. Considering that this month marks the 60-year anniversary of the publishing of The Magician’s Nephew, I have gone through the book and come up with a series of questions Lewis left unanswered. If you have potential answers to any of them, feel free to share them in the comments!

1. Digory meets Polly because he scrambles up the wall separating their gardens. Why was Digory sticking his face over the garden wall, anyway? It’s not something that is quite normal.

2. Polly had been writing a story that she wouldn’t let Digory see. What was the story about, and why wouldn’t she let him see it?

3. What unwise things did Mrs. Lefay do to be thrown in prison?

4. How did Uncle Andrew get the dust into rings?

5. After Polly and Digory decided to leave the guinea pig in the Wood between the Worlds, what happened to it?

6. When Digory saw Jupiter close enough to see its moon, did the little red men on Jupiter freak out when they saw a UFO?

7. What exactly happened in the battle between Jadis and her sister? Was Jadis’ sister really at fault as Jadis led the children to believe?

8. If Digory hadn’t rung the bell, what would have happened?

9. Chapter six tells us that there is a “long dull story of the grown-up kind” behind Aunt Letty not wishing to lend Andrew any money. How did he waste her money? What is the story behind that?

10. Jadis lists several worlds that she has destroyed when threatening to destroy ours. What are their stories? What did she do to them?

11. Uncle Andrew’s cousin, Edward, was the only man in their family to frequent a pawnshop. What is his story?

12. We don’t know what happened when Helen was drawn into Narnia. What did she think, and feel?

13. Considering that Frank and Helen never returned to England, how did that work out? Was their disappearance questioned? Was an investigation held?

Horses in Narnia

By Tenethia South

Stories like Black Beauty, The Black Stallion, and Misty of Chincoteague have for years enchanted readers, drawing them into their stories. Some people could equate the success of these books to the characters, the themes, or the author’s writing style. However, I prefer to believe these stories have for so long enraptured readers simply because they are stories about horses. The Chronicles of Narnia have no lack of horses. From The Magician’s Nephew to The Last Battle, talking horses, pegusi, and unicorns race through the land of Narnia, enchanting the readers.

The first horse in Narnia was Strawberry, who was there even before the world was created. This horse was brought to Narnia from England by accident when Digory and Polly first went into that world. In England, he was a workhorse for Frank, who later became the first king of Narnia. When brought to Narnia, Strawberry was chosen by Aslan to become a talking horse, and later became the first of the winged horses of Narnia and renamed Fledge. He bore Polly and Digory on his back over Narnia to the garden where Digory got the apple that Aslan had required of Digory for bringing the witch into Narnia.

Bree and Hwin were two talking horses from The Horse and His Boy. They had both strayed too far South in their younger years, and had been kidnapped and sold as slaves in Calormen. These two horses were instrumental in the defeat of Rabadash at the Battle of Anvard, as they bore two riders (Aravis and Cor) across the desert to warn King Lune of Archenland of the impending attack on his castle.

Snowflake and Coalblack were two dumb horses from The Silver Chair, who served the Lady of the Green Kirtle and the Dark Knight. These horses were first seen on the plains of Ettinsmoor, and later saved Jill, Eustace, Puddleglum, and Rilian from drowning in Underworld after the witch had been killed. Though they were dumb beasts, they were noble ones who did well to deliver the Prince of Narnia from his prison of darkness.

The Last Battle came around, and brought us a unicorn named Jewel. Jewel was a noble beast, and a good friend to Tirian, the last king of Narnia. Jewel served his king well, standing by his side until the very last conflict between Narnia and Calormen.

There are a number of other horses in Narnia. The four horses in the end of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, though not named, were important, as they bore the four kings and queens in their quest after the White Stag. Destrier was a coal-black horse in Prince Caspian. This horse bore Prince Caspian in his flight away from Miraz, and when Caspian hit his head and fell, ran straight back to Miraz, giving away the news of Caspian’s escape.

When one recalls all the horses in the Chronicles and how endearing these beautiful creatures are, it comes as no surprise that CS Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia are some of the best-loved books in children’s literature.