Tag Archives: SC Film

Is The Horse and His Boy the real next Narnia film?

Amidst the disquieting lack of updates on the planned production of a fourth Narnia film, The Silver Chair, the following interesting image has come to light showing what appears to be a scene containing Anna Popplewell (Susan Pevensie) practising archery with someone looking suspiciously like Prince Rabadash:

rabadash

Is it possible that Douglass Gresham and his fellow film makers are toying with us and that it is actually The Horse and His Boy that is being planned as the next film, and is in fact already in production? This would not be the first time that there has been a dramatic turn around regarding which Narnia book would be the next produced. Shortly after the release of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, it was announced by Michael Flaherty that plans were afoot for The Magician’s Nephew to be the next film. [1] This announcement was overturned in October last year with an announcement of The Silver Chair, but there have been few updates on the status of that in recent months. So has there been another about-turn and has The Silver Chair  been scrapped in favour of The Horse and His Boy?

While HHB is not the obvious choice for the next film, there may be some good reasons for the selection. In particular, the four child actors who portrayed the Pevensie children in the previous three films are now the ideal age to play their adult selves in this Golden Age tale which takes place after the events of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (with the exception of the final scene). The Horse and His Boy is in fact the last of the books to give the Pevensies any significant roles and film makers may wish not to miss out on this final opportunity to use the Pevensie actors before it is too late. It would also create a sense of continuity with the other films which would be lacking in The Silver Chair (especially as the only character to be retained in that story is Eustace, and Will Poulter, who played him brilliantly in VDT, is considered by many to already be too old to reprise that role).

The mysterious (princely Calormene-looking) man seen alongside Anna Popplewell in this leaked photograph has been identified as Fiji-born actor Craig Parker who now lives in New Zealand. Previous roles portrayed by him include various television appearances such as Lucius, from the 1998 TV series Young Hercules, and three separate roles in the 1997-2001 series Xena: Warrior Princess. Of greatest interest to our readers is his most prestigious role as the elf Haldir in the 2001-2003 Lord of the Rings film trilogy, for which he had to wear a blonde wig that took him three hours to apply. [2] For the role of the Calormene prince, however, no such disguise will be necessary. Craig Parker has also starred alongside Anna Popplewell before in the TV Series Reign, currently in its second season, where he plays an enigmatic French man named Narcisse.

Oh wait…sorry…what was that? The photo is actually from a recording of the two of them in Reign? Well, yes, I saw it said “reign” on the screen but I thought that referred to the Pevensies’ reign or Rabadash’s or something? So he’s not Rabadash at all? This is all just a big misunderstanding?

Oh well, that was fun speculation anyway. I guess we’ll be getting The Silver Chair next after all. I’m sure most of our readers caught on to us right away (especially those who read Lil’s excellent piece on the Pevensie actors Where are the Pevensies now? in which she referred to Anna’s role in Reign.)

This prank news item was brought to you by Ajnos and Kristi. Apologies for any anxiety or disappointment caused by the reading of this article, but we thought the picture was too fun not to make something of it.

Please note that the TV series “Reign” from which this image comes, carries a TV-14 age restriction and we at TLC do not recommend watching of it by younger members and advise caution to all members due to some adult content.

References:
[1] The Christian Post: Narnia 4 Will Be ‘Magician’s Nephew,’ Not ‘Silver Chair
[2] IMDB: Craig Parker (1)

David Magee, screenwriter for The Silver Chair, on writing a screenplay

By Oresen

It was announced a while back that David Magee would be working on the script of the new Silver Chair film. In January  2013, he was interviewed by Tavis Smiley about one of his other projects, the highly acclaimed film adaptation of Life of Pi. Below are three interesting facts about Magee that shed light on his work as a screenwriter and give us a glimpse into what we can expect from him in The Silver Chair. The information and quotes below are taken from the inverview with Tavis Smiley.

1) He has written multiple movie adaptations of books before, including 2004’s Finding Neverland and 2012’s Life of Pi, both of which earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Screen Play. His adaptation process starts with finding

one kernel of what this book means to you, what you want to focus on. Because a book can be 300, 500 pages, and it can explore a lot of things. But first of all you have to find that one notion, that one idea that excites you when you get up each morning to work on it.

He then grows the various themes needed in the film from that starting point.

2) He only accepts job offers from studios for movies he is passionate about and feels he can write a strong script for.

There has to be something that when I first read the material, or when I first heard it, I said, ‘Oh yes, I want that, I want to explore that idea,’ or ‘I want to show that to my kids,’ or ‘I’ve felt just like that’, or ‘That really moved me.’

Early in his career he once was pressured through flattery to accept a project he didn’t really feel, and from the disappointing result of that film he has now learned “to be polite, and say no.”

3) He knew he wanted to be a storyteller since he was a little kid. Whether it was watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, movies about high school romance, spiritual stories, or stories in particular historical or geographical settings; that world, the world of stories, enamored him.

Those things can really widen your view of the world… [Through the films I watched growing up] I learned about cultures, about people and places far away from me. I’ve always wanted to be a part of this.

See more of his eloquent interview here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/screenwriter-david-magee/

Three Great Places to Shoot The Silver Chair’s Underground World

by Oresen

One of my favorite parts about The Silver Chair is Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum’s foray into the underground realm. Half the action in the book takes place beneath the earth, and Lewis’ crafted descriptions of that unseen world will have to be one of the many things to look out for on the big screen when the upcoming film is released.

The three ways the crew might shoot these underground scenes are by building a set to look like the underground, shooting using motion capture and converting it into CG, or finding a cave somewhere in the world that would mirror what Jill and her friends saw underground.

Here are three government-owned “show caves” that would be great places to film the various underground scenes:

1) Grottes de Han Caves

Grottes de Han Cave

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Location: Belgium

Why they would be great:

  • Half a million people visit these caves annually, so safety-issues are most likely not a concern
  • The caves aren’t near any major cities, but there is the village of Han-Sur-Lesse nearby, which could offer the crew food and housing during their shoot in the caves
  • The largest chamber of the cave is noted for having great acoustics, which wouldn’t hurt filming

2) Ohio Caverns

Seneca Cave

Source: Photo by and ©2007 Dustin M. Ramsey. Wikimedia Commons.

Location: United States of America

Why they would be great:

  • These caverns are known for having giant stalagmites and stalactites, which in the right lighting could appear very frightening, and present physical obstacles for Jill and her friends to have to pass through
  • They are overseen by the National Caving Association of America, so setting up logistical details would be simple and straightforward
  • There are full-time tour guides able to assist the film crew with setting up a scene, or just general navigation
  • Ohio’s geographical location gives it mostly favorable weather; it is not in the East Coast so that hurricanes hit it, or in the South so that searing heat and humidity affects it, or too far north to receive feet of snow like the Northeastern U.S.

3) Jenolan Caves

Seneca Cave

Source: Toby Hudson. Wikimedia Commons.

Location: Australia

Why they would be great:

  • The caves that make up the Jenolan are known to have layers – the depths can reach the equivalence of three-to-five story buildings. These layers could be very useful in shooting the character’s dreary and lengthy trek downwards.
  • Australia is quite generous in giving tax exemptions for film projects due to the economic boost the film shoot’s region will gain. (One recent film that was shot there due to tax benefits is Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.) The savings from the budget can then be implemented in marketing or set design or some other field.
  • Although they are several kilometers long, they are lit well by the lights built and scattered throughout. Shooting could commence at any time of the day.

There are, of course, other numerous, wonderful locations The Silver Chair could use to shoot. If you know of a place that would be perfect to shoot the above or underground sequences, leave a comment below.

Portraying Spiritual Themes in the Narnia Films

by Always Narnian

The Chronicles of Narnia, penned by author C.S. Lewis, are not allegorical works as some would think, but are “supposals,” as the author himself preferred to call them. Lewis said of the main protagonist in the series: ‘If Aslan represented the immaterial Deity in the same way in which Giant Despair represents Despair, he would be an allegorical figure. In reality however he is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, “What might Christ become like, if there really were a world like Narnia and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?” This is not allegory at all.’ (source: Letters of C.S. Lewis)

Three of the Chronicles’ titles have been adapted to the screen in the years 2005 through 2010. Have these three films been faithful to both the major and minor spiritual themes found in Lewis’ books?

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, directed by Andrew Adamson, and produced by Mark Johnson, maintains some of the major themes readers have long treasured in this story by C.S. Lewis. Aslan’s death, a portrayal of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, is a major scene in both the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe book and the film of that same name. This scene, if omitted, would change the entire plot and make-up of the story. In the film, there is an additional line that Aslan speaks after defeating the White Witch: “It is finished,” echoing the words of Jesus on the cross. However, Andrew Adamson denied he knew that these words were spoken by Jesus. Regarding this story, Adamson also said:

“I didn’t think a lot about the religious aspect of the film… I read [the book] when I was eight years old before I even knew what the word “allegory” means [sic]. I don’t know if C.S. Lewis really intended it to be allegorical, but he definitely wrote from a place of his own belief… I think because I set out to make a film of the book and I think I’ve stayed really true to the book… [people] can apply their personal belief and interpret the movie the same way they interpreted the book.” (source: Dark Horizons – Andrew Adamson)

Though Aslan’s death was still included in the movie, we see that Andrew Adamson’s farthest goal was to represent anything Christian in the film, the opposite of what Lewis said of his well-loved classic.

Prince Caspian, the second Narnia film, was also directed by Andrew Adamson and produced by Mark Johnson. There is a scene in the book where Lucy spots Aslan, and she tells the others that the Lion must want them to follow him. The others, however, could not see Aslan, and they choose to go in the opposite direction of where Lucy claimed she had seen him. Later, Lucy asks Aslan if things would have been different had she followed him then, despite the fact that she would have had to do so alone. Aslan replies with a very interesting statement:

“You mean,” said Lucy rather faintly, “that it would have turned out all right – somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?” “To know what would have happened, child?” said Aslan. “No. Nobody is ever told that.” [Prince Caspian book]

In the film, the lines have been altered, with Lucy’s question being:

“If I’d have come earlier, would everyone who died…Could I have stopped that?” Aslan replies: “We can never know what would have happened, Lucy.” [Prince Caspian film]

This answer of Aslan’s shows that he himself would not have known, as compared to his reply in the book that no one was told what would have happened. The Aslan portrayed in the movie is very different from that of all-knowing Christ in the Bible, whom we see calling out the thoughts and intentions of people’s hearts, prophesying about His own death and His return. The portrayal of Aslan in the film is less omniscient than that of the books, and he seems to rather be a last resort.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was directed by Michael Apted and produced by Mark Johnson. Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis’ stepson, who helped to produce all three of the Narnia films, said about Michael Apted directing the third Narnia film:

“I don’t think I said I was very glad it was done by an agnostic, but I think it’s a good thing that it was… [The] great temptation for me, as a Christian – the card-carrying, flag-waving, slogan shouting Christian on the team – … is to put some extra stuff in, to try to improve the message. And of course, we absolutely mustn’t do that, otherwise, we’d end up making a Christian movie. And we do not need more people making Christian movies, we need more Christians making good movies, and that’s what I’m setting out to try to do.” (source: Christian Teens About.com – Douglas Gresham)

Michael Apted also stated about the film,

“I didn’t want to make it so Christian specific. I do love the idea of making a film that’s spiritual in this day and age.” (source: access Atlanta – Michael Apted)

But wasn’t Lewis’ book specifically written with a Christian message?

The story of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader book is slightly different from that of its predecessors, having many sub-plots. Eustace, a rather nasty and spoiled child, leaves the group of sailors and finds a hidden cave in the mountains, where he falls asleep upon a pile of gold and gems – a dragon’s treasure. He soon awakes to find himself turned into a dragon. As the story goes on, there is a scene where this character is “un-dragoned,” so to speak, by the lion, Aslan.

This “un-dragoning,” which I feel to be one of the central spiritual applications of the book, was highly unexplained and confusing in the film. Here we have Eustace, a dragon for some time, finally landing on a sand bank somewhere in the ocean, and seeing before him Aslan, who begins to claw the sand. As he does so, claw marks appear in Eustace’s chest, as Aslan turns Eustace into a boy once again. There is no conversation or explanation during this scene.

In the book, we see Aslan tell Eustace to shed away the scaly skin.  Although Eustace tries as hard as he might, he cannot get rid of the dragon skin himself, and Aslan must do it for him. This scene, in my mind, is a picture of the sin in our lives, which we cannot get rid of ourselves. It is only Christ that can rid our lives of our own sin. After Eustace’s “un-dragoning,” you see a change in the boy’s attitude, yet it is still noted about him:

‘It would be nice, and fairly true, to say that “from that time forth Eustace was a different boy.” To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy. He had relapses. There were still many days when he could be very tiresome. But most of those I shall not notice. The cure had begun.’ [The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis]

The Silver Chair, the fourth Narnia film to be brought to us, is now in the very early stages of planning, said to be produced by The Mark Gordon Company, and the script is being written by David Magee. Mark Gordon has already spoken about Lewis’ books:

“Like many readers, both young and old, I am a huge fan of C.S. Lewis’s beautiful and allegorical world of Narnia.” (source: ComingSoon.net – Mark Gordon)

This, at least, gives us a hint that this producer knows there is something more than just a story in the Chronicles. Since The Silver Chair film has only recently been announced, we can merely speculate as to what will be included in this upcoming film. Many of the themes in The Silver Chair may perhaps be less conspicuous than that of Aslan’s death in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but are still visible to those who know the intent of Lewis’ writing.

Will Aslan say, “You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,” [The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis] which is perhaps a reference to the Scripture: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” [John 6:44] Will Aslan’s paw be pierced by a thorn, his blood pouring over Caspian’s dead form and bringing him back to life? How will Aslan’s country be portrayed? Will the new film makers dig deep into the rich resources of Lewis’ book and be faithful to the “supposals” that were thoughtfully woven into the story? Time can only tell, as we await the fourth instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia

Who is the Mark Gordon Company? And what can we expect from their involvement in The Silver Chair?

By Ajnos Gamgee

We were delighted by the news announced on 1 October last year (2013) that the CS Lewis Company had entered into an agreement with the Mark Gordon Company to develop and produce the next instalment in the Narnia film series – The Silver Chair. The press release informed us that Mark Gordon would be working on developing the script along with co-producers Douglas Gresham (Lewis’ step-son) and Vincent Sieber (one of the directors of the CS Lewis Company, who was also involved in production for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader). So exactly who are Mark Gordon and his company? And what can we expect from their involvement in producing the new film?

Firstly, we should establish exactly what the role of a producer is in a film. Mark Gordon himself is quoted on IMDb as defining the role of a producer as follows:

Most people think, ‘Oh, the producer’s the guy who gets the money.’ And that’s part of it. But the producer also develops the script, brings in the director, works as an editor, is involved in the marketing. It’s really hard to define. (source: IMDb – Mark Gordon)

The producer essentially gets first say and last say in what happens in the film. They are involved in bringing together all the aspects of what makes a film filmable by establishing the initial plan of the script, who will work on the film and how it will be funded. Gordon will not be doing all this on his own, of course, but has Douglas Gresham and Vincent Sieber as co-producers. From what we know about these two, this is good news for fans of Narnia. Gresham has in the past revealed a desire to see future films adapted much more closely to the book than in the past (source: personal communication) and Sieber has been quoted in the initial press release as saying:

[Working in this partnership with Gordon from the beginning] gives us the opportunity to develop a script and then produce a film with some of the most talented industry professionals whilst remaining completely faithful to this much loved book. (source: narniafans)

Mark Gordon has been involved in production work since 1980. He and his company have been producers for numerous television shows and films throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Among these are some well-known, highly praised and award-winning works including the graphic World War II drama Saving Private Ryan (1998) (R) which was nominated for an Oscar (best picture), a BAFTA [1] (best film) and a Satellite award (best motion picture – drama). It also won the award for “outstanding producer of theatrical motion pictures” from the Producers Guild of America.

Other award-winning films Gordon has produced (in co-production with other producers) include a television film Warm Springs (2005) (PG), about President Roosevelt’s struggles with Polio, and The Messenger (2009) (R), the romantic tale of an American soldier who falls in love with the widow of another soldier whose death he is assigned to report on. He has also produced numerous episodes of the popular thriller crime drama Criminal Minds (TV-PG/14) and the award-winning medical drama Grey’s Anatomy (TV-14). While the popular success of these works and recognition by the entertainment industry (by means of nominations and awards) points to the high quality Gordon’s work, it should be noted that many of these mentioned are rated between PG and R for scenes of extreme violence, gore, horror and sexual content.

This could be worrying to fans of Narnia, especially those in Christian circles. At the same time, it should be remembered, however, that The Silver Chair is meant to be a children’s story with a Christian ethos. As such it is unlikely, and almost unthinkable, that we would expect the same treatment of the material that we see in the war films and police and medical dramas he has produced in the past. The one area in which I would genuinely be concerned is in representations of violence, which have the potential for being exaggerated in The Silver Chair. Having said that, The Silver Chair does not contain a large-scale battle like some of the other Narnia stories, so even the possibility of extreme violence is reduced.

One of Mark Gordon’s first awards, in fact, was the BAFTA [1] Children’s Award for Best Children’s Feature Film for Paulie (1998) (PG). This covers the story of a talking parrot and his adventures from living with a young girl with a stutter to being found in a laboratory by a janitor who takes pity on him and listens to his adventures (source: Wikipedia, IMDb). Both the inclusion of talking animals and children and adults, and the apparent episodic nature of this film are encouraging signs for Gordon’s ability to work with the Narnia stories. Besides the BAFTA, Paulie received a number of other nominations for awards.

Gordon has also worked in children’s television producing episodes for the CBS Schoolbreak Specials. These programmes (which ran in the 80s and 90s) were targeted at teenagers and dealt with social issues and problems relevant to these age groups. Gordon produced an episode on Children remembering the Holocaust which received a Daytime Emmy nomination and another on class/race warfare which won the Daytime Emmy for “Outstanding Children’s Special”. He also produced episodes for ABC’s Afterschool Special which ran along similar lines.

Gordon was involved in the production of the apocalyptic sci-fi films The Day After Tomorrow (2004) (PG-13) and 2012 (2009) (PG-13). These films might give us a hint as to how Gordon would deal with the collapse of Underland and Bism in The Silver Chair. 2012, in particular, made use of large-scale special effects, exaggerating the destructive power of earthquakes and floods.

It is impossible to tell from a producer’s past filmography what The Silver Chair will look like, but it would seem that in Mark Gordon we have someone who is able to make good quality, popular works, has experience in working with children’s material and has won awards in both areas. If, in working with Gresham and Sieber, they create something that adheres to the storyline in the book, we have the potential for a good quality film, appropriate for a children’s audience, with effective and well thought-out special effects.


[1] The BAFTAs are the highest awards awarded to the film industry in Britain generally considered to be the British equivalent of the Academy Awards/Oscars.

All information regarding film titles, awards and ratings in this article is from IMDb