Saturday, December 29, 2007

Makeup Artist Recalls Ups, Downs of Caspian Shoot

From Canada.com: Mastery of makeup opens vistas for ex-bank teller
Then, like a scene straight out of a fantasy movie, [Vincenza Sharpe] got a call to work on the Disney sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Suddenly, the one-time bank teller was en route to Prague.

Not that the call had come completely out of the blue. She had decided to apply for a job by sending an e-mail to Howard Berger, winner of an Oscar for best achievement in makeup for the first Narnia movie.

"I said if he ever wanted to give someone a chance to prove themselves, I would be that person." She got a positive response but no job offer. She persisted, even offering to fly to Los Angeles at her own expense to meet him. "He laughed at me and said he really liked how ballsy I was." Then the call came.

She spent five months working under Berger's tutelage with some of the makeup artists who had worked on the first Narnia movie.

"I learned so much. Howard is such a fantastic man. He gave me a chance."

The job was gruelling, with 20-hour work days and a scarcity of good food on the catering truck. The hardest part was leaving her children, who were then eight, 14 and 16. But the payoffs were great.

She recalls spending three and a half hours creating a centaur. She had to apply ears, a forehead piece, nose, wig and tons and tons of makeup. "My proudest moment was bringing him on set. Howard told me he was so impressed."

Sharpe, who is now working in Vancouver on the NBC comedy series Interns, said she has no real complaints about her job, but if there were one thing she could change, it would be the amount of time makeup artists are given to work on actors.

"It is really frustrating because they give camera time and the lighting people time, but when it comes to hair and makeup, it's like not a big deal, but it really is a big deal. We don't get the time we need with our actors sometimes."

She has big plans to go on the road again and to work on future Narnia shows in a job that has taken her far from Surrey to the land of stardom.

Michael Apted Reflects on Movie Industry

From Newsweek: Film’s New Anxiety of Influence - Hollywood still sets the agenda, but increasingly relies on the innovation and cultural input of foreign-born filmmakers.
...

"Today in Hollywood there is a different and unnerving kind of energy as we find ourselves facing new frontiers. We are now deep into a digital age that has begun to fundamentally alter the relationship between creators and the audience. Our industry faces many challenges in determining how to take advantage of new technology while still protecting the environment for our artists to work."

(Click here to read the rest of the interview)
Michael Apted not only presides over the Directors Guild of America and will be directing Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but in his spare time he's negotiating in the Hollywood strike and still finds time to reflect on his experiences for Newsweek.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ben Barnes Makes LATimes' 2008 Faces to Watch

From the Los Angeles Times: 2008 Faces to Watch: Ben Barnes
Barnes' starring moment is still five months away, but already more than 33,000 people have checked out a website devoted to the man who would be king, playing Prince Caspian in Andrew Adamson's "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," due for release in May.

"It's terrifying," says the 26-year-old British actor. "Everyone has been warning me about what I'm in for, but I think I still don't understand the half of it."

Until Barnes landed the starring part, his greatest claim to fame was a run in the West End production of "The History Boys" and a part in Matthew Vaughn's fantasy "Stardust." Then casting came calling, looking, Barnes says, for "a piratey-swarthy-everyman kind of prince," and three weeks later, the markedly un-piratey, un-swarthy actor was sitting astride a horse on the set in New Zealand.

Since completing production this fall, Barnes has been busy reading scripts and fantasizing about his future, even if he won't be free to take another role until 2009: He's signed up for the third "Narnia" installment, which will begin production next year.

Tidbits: Caspian Actor Nearly Sued, Shaves Twice Daily

From ThisisLondon: Arts and Exhibition News
No one has actually seen Ben Barnes in his new film. But if The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is even half as successful as its precursor, he's about to become an extremely familiar face. This latest instalment of the CS Lewis saga is the fantasy epic the Catholic Church wants you to see - but more importantly, the trailer is already out and creating a huge buzz on the web. Barnes plays young Caspian: long hair, long sword, desperately seeking kingdom.

Born in 1981, the young actor ditched his role as Dakin in The History Boys to join the Narnians and, as a result, almost got himself sued by the National Theatre. He seems jolly enough now - and entirely resigned to the fact that he has to shave twice a day to keep that fresh-faced teen glow. As he says: "I've been playing 17 for the past four years!"

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tidbits: 60% of Dawn Treader To Be Shot in New Zealand

From Xinhua: Int'l film makers seek out NZ's magical powers
Directed by Michael Apted, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader" is 60-percent sets in New Zealand.

The Bay of Islands, Coromandel, New Plymouth, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne are all featured in the film.

An increased presence of New Zealand on the silver screen is expected to prove a strong draw to tourists looking to enjoy the island nation's stunningly pristine natural scenery.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Exclusive Prince Caspian Trailer?

From Business of Cinema: INOX unveils trailer of Narnia's sequel
INOX is all set to launch an exclusive trailer of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - the second in the series of movies based on C.S. Lewis children fantasy series. INOX, in association with Walt Disney will present the trailer exclusively at INOX, Nariman Point and INOX, Santacruz from 21-27 December, 2007.
Meanwhile, NarniaSpain (Via NarniaWeb) is reporting that a nine-minute trailer will debut on Spanish television, much like the 9-minute trailer for The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe debuted before its release.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tidbits: Anna Popplewell Appears As Talent Judge

From Lynn News: Downham's Rosalind (14) wins herself a BAFTA
Children between the ages of seven and 14 were invited to submit original short films, the entries going through a stringent round of voting before coming in front of a panel of industry experts and well-known celebrities including Anna Popplewell from The Chronicles of Narnia and author Anthony Horowitz.

Tidbits: "Water Horse" Actor Auditioned for Narnia

From CinemaBlend: Interview: Alex Etel Of The Water Horse

The actor playing in Walden Media's film "Waterhorse" mentioned in a recent interview that he auditioned for a role in Narnia, and is still interested in a role.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

'Rings' FX Guru To Helm Dawn Treader Animation

From The Movie Reporter: I Am Legend's Visual Effects Supervisor Jim Berney
IESB: Sony Imageworks is going to be working on Justice League. Is that something you're going to be involved with?

Berney: No, I'm not on that, actually. I'm currently working on, with Jim Rygiel. He and are working on "Eagle Eye" and then he's going to be doing Narnia 3, "The Dawn Treader". There's nothing official on this but I'm hoping to do "Dawn Treader".

IESB: That's my favorite of the books.

Berney: That's everybody's favorite of the books! It's going to be pretty cool. I did the first one. I didn't do the second one since I was doing this, but there's a chance -- that's what I'm kind of angling to do is part three.

IESB: Outside of that, do you have a dream project that you'd like to someday work on?

Berney: That's funny, I don't anymore. Years ago, actually, Narnia was it. I always thought that was the next Lord of the Rings type of thing so I was really happy to be able to get onto that. I always wanted to do digital humans at some point so I was actually glad to get a chance to do that. I'm glad they didn't have speaking roles just because of the short time-frame. The added animation of a speaking part would have probably pushed us to our boundary at the time.

HarperCollins Targets 'Narnia' Audiences

From The Bookseller: Film focus for HarperCollins Children's
HarperCollins Children’s Books has the tie-in rights to three of next year’s most eagerly-awaited children’s films: the new Indiana Jones sequel, the latest Batman movie and the next C S Lewis adaptation, “Prince Caspian”.

Brand and properties director Claire Harding, who rejoined the publisher from Paramount Pictures this summer, said: “We want to position HarperCollins Children’s as the ‘home’ of blockbuster publishing.”

...

HC intends to replicate its “read it before you see it” campaign for “Prince Caspian”, out in June 2008. The Narnia tie-in programme will kick off in May 2008 and HC will work with Disney on planned retail promotions focusing on high visibility in stores.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Ben Barnes' Dream Role

From the Daily Mail: Grabbing the reins of my dream role
One minute he was in the play The History Boys in the West End — the next he was in New Zealand, learning which end of a horse was which, as well as mastering sword fighting and leading an army of 'Old Narnians' to unseat his evil uncle King Miraz.

'The original plan was to hire an authentic Spanish or Mexican to play Caspian. And to get someone younger,' he joked. He explained that in C.S. Lewis's Prince Caspian book, the hero is a teenager.

But Lewis also wrote that Caspian should be comparable in age to Peter Pevensie, and William Moseley (who played of my dream role Peter in The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe) is now 20 — so Ben's not that old.

'And in the end, they decided on an English actor using a Spanish accent,' he said.

But what about the riding? Well, although Ben had a riding double, he did the vast majority of horse scenes himself. 'The double was being me in the background shots somewhere else, while I was being me close up,' Ben confessed with a laugh.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Narnia Composers Win Awards

From The Hollywood Reporter: BMI London awards film, TV music prizes
Golden Globe-winning composer Alexandre Desplat, Grammy-winning composer David Arnold, and composing brothers Harry and Rupert Gregson-Williams were among the winners in the 2007 BMI London Awards announced Tuesday evening.

The film and television music prizes were among honors handed out to members of Britain's Performing Rights Society and other European rights services for top play in the U.S. in 2006 at the American music rights organization's annual London shindig.
...
Arnold, a Grammy winner for "Independence Day," was cited for his score to "Casino Royale." He composed the music for three previous James Bond films and is on board for the untitled "Bond 22" plus the animated "Agent Crush" and comedy "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People." Arnold, who is also very busy in the pop world working with such acts as the Kaiser Chiefs, has scored TV's "Stargate SG-1" since 1997.
...
Harry Gregson-Williams won for the Aardman/DreamWorks animated film "Flushed Away" and Tony Scott's Denzel Washington thriller "Deja Vu." His credits include such DreamWorks hits as "Antz" (1998), "Chicken Run" (2000), and "Shrek" (2001) with John Powell. He scored "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" (2005) and is working on "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" due in 2008, both directed by Andrew Adamson for Walt Disney.

Singer Spied With Narnia Book

From TMZ: The Britney Spears Coffee and Gas Roundup

Because of technical difficulties (and irrelevant comments on the story itself), we are unable to post photos, but who cares anyway. The video on the website shows the indecently-dressed Britney Spears sitting in her car, and to fend off paparazzi, she holds a copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in front of her face.

Werewolves in Adamson's Future

From In The News: Narnia director eyes werewolf pic
The long-haired Kiwi, currently working on Prince Caspian, the second film in the Chronicles of Narnia franchise, is rumoured to direct the werewolf thriller Benighted for Warner Bros.

According to Variety, Adamson will produce the adaptation of Kit Whitfield's novel with Martin Scorsese stalwart Graham King, while Patrick Smith Kelly (A Perfect Murder and Don't Say A Word) is likely to script.

The movie would be a world away from the glossy world of Narnia and Adamson's Shrek films, with its tale of a world 90 per cent werewolf and a minority human population responsible for keeping the peace when the lycanthropes get all riled up during the full moon,
(Incidentally, the publication inaccurately reports that Prince Caspian is due for release on June 27th, 2008. The real release date is May 16, 2008.)

**Update**
June 27th is the release date for the UK.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Idaho Theater Features Narnia

From the Idaho Statesman: GREAT FAMILY SHOW OPENS IN NAMPA
The Encore Theatre Company will present "The Chronicles of Narmia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," by C.S. Lewis, for four performances this month.

It will run at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18, 19, 20, and at 2 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Nampa Civic Center.

Center director Bill Stephan says the show faithfully recreates the magic and mystery of Aslan, the great lion (played by Joe Peppley) as he struggles with the White Witch (Fern Gautier) and the four children who find their way into Narnia through an old wardrobe.

One of the finest actors/singers in the valley, Gregg Irwin, is playing Tumnus, and the director is Jodi Perry. Stacy Irwin, Gregg's wife, is the choreographer.

Jodi says this is a story of faith, courage and love, with its triumph of good over evil offering a true celebration of life.

Tickets are available by calling 468-555; $12 for adults and $8 for children 12 and younger.

Stephan said a portion of the proceeds for this event will benefit expansion of the center.
Link to The Encore Theatre Company

VDT Featured By BoxOfficeProphets

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - Movie of the day, October 11, 2007
Numerous heavily-CGId battles will ensue, naturally. Along the way they learn lessons about greed, meet mermaids, and even visit an island where everyone's dreams come true, as long as they watch out for that mass of darkness near the back.
Only slightly correct...the mermaids never make direct contact with the crew of the Dawn Treader, and the island is not where dreams (wishes) come true, but dreams (including nightmares), setting each and every sailor but Reepicheep into a panic.

Disney's Zoradi To Discuss Upcoming Films At Festival

Once again from Inside Indiana Business: Stars Coming Out For 2007 Heartland Film Festival
The 2007 Festival will feature an exciting lineup of special events and screenings for film aficionados of all ages. It will kick off Thursday, October 18

...

Festivities will also include: a special presentation with Mark Zoradi, President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group, giving moviegoers the inside scoop about upcoming Disney films such as “Enchanted,” “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Narnia Featured in New Public Service Announcements

From Animation World Network: Library of Congress Uses Animation to Promote Literacy
As a prelude to its annual National Book Festival in Washington, the Library of Congress launched a series of public outreach initiatives designed to promote the joy of reading and to better share the Library's programs and collections with the public.

The Library and the Advertising Council announced a new series of public service advertisements developed to inspire young people to "explore new worlds" through reading and to promote literacy in all types of learning, including books, periodicals and cartoons, through a new website.

The new PSAs, created pro bono by The Geppetto Group, Walt Disney Studios Home Ent. and the Brigham Young University (BYU) Ad Lab, are based on fiction classics THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ and the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, as well as stories of King Arthur and the Round Table. The PSAs aim to inspire children in grades four to six to get more enjoyment out of reading and thereby inspire them to become lifelong learners.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Marketing Alliance Makes For Disney Promos

From Inside Indiana Business: Heartland Signs Major Deal With Disney, Best Buy
Gaining further recognition that its signature award is steadily becoming a mark of quality for consumers, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures™ has finalized a marketing alliance with the Walt Disney Company and Best Buy™ for a regional promotion of Disney titles which have received the Heartland Truly Moving Picture Award. The promotion will offer a consumer discount on sixteen DVD titles, and will run in nine Midwestern states from October 14 until supplies last, concurrent with this year’s Heartland Film Festival.

Among the animated and live-action movies are classic films such as Cinderella, Peter Pan, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Jungle Book, Old Yeller and The Little Mermaid; more recent children’s hits including Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Cars, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Ice Princess and Bridge to Terabithia; as well as adult-oriented fare such as Remember the Titans, Miracle and Glory Road.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Walden's Granat Speaks About Future Plans

From ComingSoon.net: Walden's Narnia Plans After the Third Pic
Walden co-founder and president Cary Granat gave Variety an update:

Hopes are highest for "Prince Caspian," which will cost at least $100 million. Granat promises that the battle-filled sequel is easily distinguishable from its predecessor and the third pic on the sked, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader."

Producers had announced at Comic-Con in July that auds could expect one "Narnia" installment each May for the next few years. Granat is committing publicly to only four or five, saying that "Silver Chair" might be the best bet for the fourth, followed by "Magician's Nephew," but he admits that there are a multitude of possibilities.

"There are a lot of stories to be taken from the seven books," he notes.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

British Author: "The Silver Chair was my comfort book"

From The Times of London: Stories that linger a lifetime
The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis was my “comfort” book, the story I returned to when I was down. I liked the way that Eustace and Jill weren’t quite as goody-goody as Eustace’s cousins in some of the other Narnia books. They were real children with real fears. I loved that they were given tasks and managed to mess up most of them but still triumphed. This book had a darker edge to it than any of the other Narnia books – and that appealed. When the Green Witch tried to convince Puddleglum, Eustace and Jill that there was no overworld, no sun, no Aslan, it was so menacing, yet so seductive. And Puddleglum’s physical and verbal response struck a chord. That scene told me to believe in God, myself and whatever I was doing. If others ridiculed or dismissed my efforts, then I shouldn’t let that stop me. It was a message that has stayed with me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Gregson-Williams Composes for Video Game

From GameZone: Harry Gregson-Williams to Score Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare will feature an original score by Stephen Barton with the Main Theme & Music Production provided by award-winning composer Harry Gregson-Williams. Gregson-Williams’ work has been featured in numerous feature films, television series, and videogames with credits including Enemy of the State, Man on Fire, Spy Game , The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Team America: World Police. The soundtrack for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was performed and recorded by a full orchestra, largely at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, England.

“Harry Gregson-Williams was the perfect choice to craft an immersive and rich soundtrack that matches the heightened atmosphere and tension of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare,” says Grant Collier, Studio Head at Infinity Ward. “Harry’s wealth of experience, passion and intensity together with the talents of young composer, Stephen Barton, shine through in the score draws gamers deeper into the epic and cinematic experience that is Call of Duty 4.”

A step down, or a step up?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Interview with Tilda Swinton: Weight Gain and George Clooney

From the Canada National Post: A bewitching angel's glare

Tilda Swinton brings something sinister to her roles by 'reading the script and turning up'

Tilda Swinton is a lovely lass, but folks sometimes associate her with the malicious parts she's played. No wonder. They're hard to forget.

There's her wicked white supremacist definition of the White Witch in the film version of C.S. Lewis's classic The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
...
For an earthbound take on Swinton's latest version of vile, there is her portrayal of a conniving corporate counsel in Tony Gilroy's morality tale, Michael Clayton, which stars George Clooney as the title character.

**Note**
Check out the photo on this page for a glimpse of Swinton in her next role.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Weta Designs for Prince Caspian

From Weta Workshop: Prince Caspian Designs!

Check out these newly revealed Prince Caspian Concept Artworks from Weta Workshop!

At Comic Con in July, Richard Taylor joined the Prince Caspian effects team and Director Andrew Adamson to discuss the miniatures, costumes, weapons and armour we are making here at Weta Workshop for the upcoming film.






(Pictures have previously appeared in NarniaWeb's photo gallery)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

LWW Play Comes to Chicago Suburb

From the Daily Herald: The lion, the witch and the arboretum
A stage adaptation of the Lewis' novel, written by Joseph Robinette, will be presented at Morton Arboretum on weekends beginning Saturday and continuing through Oct. 28 as a Theatre-Hike experience. It's part of the Lisle museum's multi-faceted Fall Color Festival.

Theatre-Hikes, a Chicago-based theater company founded by artistic director Frank Farrell, combines 2-mile hikes through the woods with theatrical presentations.

"It's a wonderful combination of two disciplines, theater and hiking," Farrell said. "Narnia is the woods. It's the perfect play to do in the Theater-Hikes format."

Neeson Lends Voice to Wizard of Oz

From the BBC: Neeson the great and powerful
Liam Neeson will be bringing a touch of Hollywood to the Christmas show at Belfast's Lyric Theatre, voicing the role of the Wizard of Oz.

He recorded his dialogue earlier this month in New York when he met up with the show's director Richard Croxford.

Mr Croxford said that it would be the last show in the Lyric - which is to be rebuilt - and was very nostalgic.

He said that the voice behind Aslan in the recent Narnia film "gamely" agreed to lending his vocal talents to the production.

"All you hear in the beginning in the first two scenes of Oz is this big booming voice, so you are expecting this huge big presence to come and you see this little man behind the curtain with the microphone and working the machinery - it's fantastic and to have Liam doing that voice is just amazing," Mr Croxford said.

Most of the cast has been picked but he said they were now on the lookout for the munchkins - prospective applicants please note you must be under five foot.
Now hiring hobbits, all shifts?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Screwtape Letters Returns to Stage

From Broadway World: McLean and 'Screwtape Letters' in Return Off-Bway Engagement

Fellowship of the Performing Arts Theater Company announces the return engagement of C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters off-Broadway at the Theatre at St. Clements October 18 – December 9 with opening night set for November 8. The initial production of The Screwtape Letters opened at Theatre 315 in NYC in January 2006 for a limited three week run but, due to popular demand, ran for eleven sold-out weeks.

Returning to the devilish role of Screwtape will be Max McLean along with his stalwart secretary, Toadpipe, played by Karen Eleanor Wright. McLean is best known to audiences across the country for his popular theatrical presentations of Mark's Gospel, Genesis and The Screwtape Letters.
(...)
Playing schedule is Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8PM; Saturday at 4PM; and Sundays at 3PM & 7PM. Tickets are $48 and are available at www.ticketcentral.com or by calling 212-279-4200. For more information visit www.ScrewtapeOnStage.com

Could The Strike Be Averted?

From Variety: DGA waiting for cue on talks - Guild ready to negotiate with AMPTP
The Directors Guild of America is waiting in the wings should contract negotiations with showbiz scribes remain unproductive.

The DGA signaled Thursday that it's nearly ready to start negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. Members were receiving a letter from DGA prexy Michael Apted disclosing that the guild's negotiating committee held its first meeting last week.

The development came with no progress reported from Thursday's bargaining session between the WGA and the companies. The five sessions so far -- three in July and two this week -- have been marked by acrimony, with no apparent progress toward a deal.

It is unclear whether these negotiations are related to the strike which has postponed the filming schedule of Voyage of the Dawn Treader, though it seems likely.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

New Zealand the New Hollywood?

From Homes Worldwide: Is New Zealand The New Hollywood?

With a flurry of new Kiwi films set to break records at the box office, tourists flock to the scenes of their favourite movies

Is New Zealand about to become the Hollywood of the South Pacific? Several new Kiwi films are about to be released in the UK, and the country is now rolling out the red carpet for foreign filmmakers. The New Zealand government recently announced an enhanced package of incentives to lure foreign filmmakers, including raising the grant to producers of big-budget films and allowing small projects to be "bundled" in order to qualify for incentives. These new films are sure to provide inspiration for aspiring filmmakers to visit the land of the long white cloud.

Peter Jackson's decisions to film key scenes from his Lord of the Rings trilogy in his native New Zealand has appeared to kick start a trent for using the country's fantastical landscapes to create spectacular special effects. Filming is underway in Auckland for the second Narnia film Prince Caspian, under the careful eye of Kiwi director Andrew Adamson. Meanwhile, Peter Jackson is working on his next project Down Under, a film adaptation of Alice seebold's Lovely Bones.

In response, more tourists visiting New Zealand are shunning the traditional attractions to seek out the sets of their favourite films and relive the movie magic. Numerous tours have sprung up offering to take visitors back to Middle Earth, with guided trips around the original sets.

This paper is either behind the times, or knows something the rest of us don't. Principle photography for Prince Caspian has already wrapped.

No Changes for Tumnus' Teeth

From Carefair.com: No Cosmetic Dentistry for McAvoy
In an Esquire magazine interview, actor James McAvoy said he has no plans to have his teeth fixed. McAvoy said, "Am I going to get my teeth fixed? Only when they fall out." The 28-year old Scottish actor’s vow results from his desire not to bow to the pressures of Hollywood to have cosmetic dentistry.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Critic: Baynes Was Pestered By Hollywood For Rights

From The Times of London: Snowman hijacked by the ad men
Amanda Craig, The Times’ children books critic, said: “The market has changed enormously since Harry Potter. People have got a lot shrewder. I remember when I was on the board of the Society of Authors and Pauline Baynes, who illustrated the Narnia books, got in a terrible state. She kept being approached by a Hollywood studio for the rights to her drawings. She was an elderly lady and she didn’t know what to do. She was the sort of person that some of the big marketing agencies and companies still go after.”

Animal Trainer Home From Set of Narnia

From the Kansas City Star: Can a big-time animal expert train a stubborn little puppy?
Hollywood animal trainer Mark Forbes can teach a Dalmatian to slide a tape into a VCR and a pig to walk on its hind legs.

He can get elephants and bears and wolves and sheep to board an ark without incident, as he did recently for “Evan Almighty.”

...

This week he was headed home to California from Prague, where he coordinated the animals on the set of “The Chronicles of Narnia” sequel.

Forbes loves his job so much that he has been known to take it home. Among the dogs that live with him and his family are Pongo from the “Dalmatians” movie, the shaggy dog from the-you-know-which movie and a rare French Picardy shepherd who played the lead in “Because of Winn-Dixie.”

This is surprising, since no reports have indicated the presence of live animals on the set of Prince Caspian. Even the Bulgy Bear was only played by a stand-in (Shane Rangi, the evil minotaur general Otmin from the first film) because he would be computer-generated in post-production. Besides the live horses ridden by Caspian and the Telmarine soldiers, it remains to be seen what live animals required the presence of an animal trainer.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Interviews with Douglas Gresham

From NarniaFans: Behind the Wardrobe: An Interview Series with Douglas Gresham. Part 2 of 6. "On The Shadowlands"

Interview with C.S. Lewis's stepson, primarily focusing on the docudrama of Lewis's life, Shadowlands.

Be sure to check out Part 1 of the interview as well!

Prague On List to Host 2016 Olympics

From the Financial Times: Chicago ahead in Olympics race
Chicago, which has come through a gruelling [sic] competition to win the US nomination, is the early frontrunner to host the 2016 summer Olympics after the International Olympic Committee yesterday unveiled a shortlist of seven cities.

Madrid, which came fourth in the final 2012 ballot, and Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 games, are also in the field. The other shortlisted cities are Rio de Janeiro, Prague, Doha and Baku. Prague and Madrid will be at a disadvantage because another European capital, London, is hosting the 2012 games. As Beijing is hosting the 2008 games, Tokyo's bid may also be rejected.
Prague, of course, has been the host location for many different scenes (exterior and studio) for Prince Caspian.

Neeson Switches Talent Agencies

From Variety: CAA nabs Neeson
CAA [Creative Artists Agency] has emerged as the surprise winner in the tug of war for Liam Neeson that was waged between WMA and ICM after the exit of his longtime agent Ed Limato. Neeson declined to make the move with Limato to WMA, staying in the ICM fold with Eddy Yablans. CAA, which also reps Neeson's wife Natasha Richardson, confirmed the signing.

Limato moves while he is in production on "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," reprising his role as the voice of the lion Aslan. Neeson, who recently completed production on the Pierre Morel-directed thriller "Taken," is next booked to star in the Richard Eyre-directed "The Other Man," opposite Juliette Binoche.

Neeson is also attached to reunite with "Schindler's List" helmer Steven Spielberg in a Tony Kushner-scripted film about Abraham Lincoln, based on the Doris Kearns Goodwin biography.

Strike Delays Dawn Treader

Wolf Man and Narnia 3 pushed back by actors strike

News of the strike was first picked up here on News of Narnia, and then by NarniaWeb. Reportedly, the production crew was going to attempt to complete principle photography before the strike, and then have the rest of the time to complete the effects.

Now, as first reported on NarniaWeb, Disney has made the decision to move the date forward one year.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Broadbent Joins Next Potter Film

Jim Broadbent Lands In Harry Potter Movie

I'm unable to confirm the veracity of this claim beyond this one story, but according to SyFyPortal, Jim Broadbent (Professor Kirke in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) will be joining the cast of the next Harry Potter film, and is already being outfitted for makeup and prosthetics for an older appearance.

Broadbent, presumably, has already wrapped up his appearances in the next Indiana Jones film.

First Promotional Poster Released

Disney via Cinematical has released the first promotional poster of Prince Caspian.

In the foreground, Caspian is clutching his rapier-like sword in one hand (Caspian is of the race of Telmar - the Telmarines were originally pirates in the real world, who stumbled into a portal between earth and Narnia, so their weaponry will have branched away from the one- or two-handed medieval broadswords of the first film), and the horn of Queen Susan in the other. Many have noted his somewhat shaded appearance, likening the visage to Anakin Skywalker of previous posters, which moviegoers knew as reflective of his fateful future as Darth Vader. Caspian shares no such dark future, so it's slightly puzzling as to why he is thus portrayed.

Over Caspian's shoulder is Aslan, which is actually concept art from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Having ever used to promote that film, it is now being used for Prince Caspian.

Below and to the right are the four Pevensies, one of our first official looks at them in their new outfits. Curiously, they appear in reverse order of their age. Lucy is first and foremost, with Edmund being right behind her, and then Queen Susan and Peter last of all.

Behind Caspian to the left, an army of Old Narnia stands at the ready, with the castle of Miraz in the distance.

Gregson-Williams Music Played at Awards

World Soundtrack Academy honours composer Theodorakis with Lifetime Achievement Award

At the seventh edition of the World Soundtrack Awards the Flemish Radio orchestra conducted by Dirk Brossé will not only perform music of Mikis Theodorakis, but also of the Canadian composer Mychael Danna (Little Miss Sunshine, Capote, Monsoon Wedding, Ice Storm), of Harry Gregson-Williams (Man of Fire, Shrek, Chronicles of Narnia), of Evanthia Reboutsika (My Father & My Son), World Soundtrack Discovery 2006 and of Belgian jazz musician Jef Neve (Dagen Zonder Lief).

7th edition of the World Soundtrack Awards, at Music Centre De Bijloke Ghent at 8 p.m. on Saturday 20 October. Tickets €42/€32 via TeleTicketService (www.teleticketservice.be - 070 345 345)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Religious Book Ban in Prisons Includes Narnia

Prisons bar religious texts

Under a federal rule issued in January, chaplains at the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth have quietly removed from the chapel library certain religious texts and materials once available to inmates.

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Initial federal documents told prisons to either donate the removed books or throw them away. Nolan said chaplains are now allowed to store the books somewhere in the facility.

Ponce said the removed materials aren't necessarily gone forever. She said the bureau just wants to rescreen some texts before allowing them back on the shelves.

Plenty of well-known materials made the list, but there also were notable exclusions.

For instance, the list includes many books by C.S. Lewis, but the popular Christian-themed novels "The Chronicles of Narnia" are banned from the Leavenworth prison chapel library.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Narnia Beats Potter - Again

Potter beaten as most loved

A new survey's found Roald Dahl remains the most popular children's author among young adults.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is only the fourth most popular author.

Second and third places were taken by C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia series and Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie.


Despite the worldwide popularity of Harry Potter, one doubts if the books possess the timelessness of books like Narnia or Peter Pan.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Voyage of the Dawn Treader Set to Film in Malta, Iceland

From NarniaWeb: Dawn Treader Locations
In a new MySpace blog entry, KNB EFX guru Howard Berger mentions that work on Prince Caspian is now complete and he will be taking a short break before beginning work on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Filming on Dawn Treader will begin in late January. First up in the locations this time will be the island nation of Malta, as expected, followed by Prague and Iceland. Previous reports suggested that filming in Antarctica might be on the cards, but it now seems that Iceland will be used instead.

My source (the same source for the report linked to above regarding Antarctica shoots) had informed me that Malta was already heavily being considered, as well as various other islands in the South Pacific. This is likely because the island is home to C.S. Lewis's stepson Douglas Gresham.

Because of the opportunities diverse climates and surroundings for the different islands (Deathwater and Dragon Island being indicated as being rather of a rain forest climate, while Dufflepud Island is more of a coastal English countryside), there will no doubt be diverse locations used to bring all of the different islands to the screen.

Notably, the film will be returning to Barrandov Studio, which the local economy will no doubt appreciate; according to the Czech Business Weekly, the local film economy has been struggling.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Narnia Blog #8 Released

Narnia.com has released their latest production blog, an interview with Weta guru Richard Taylor.

New Christian Film Group Created

Ex-Discovery and AOL Executive Announces Creation of New Christian Film Group

Intending to groom a new generation of Christian filmmakers, high-tech video innovator George Escobar has launched Advent Film Group, LLC (AFG) to train students who will one day direct big-budget films with moral integrity. Expecting this new film production and distribution corporation to carve inroads into Hollywood, Escobar announced the completion of principal photography on AFG's first film, Moot Courting (working title), at Patrick Henry College (PHC) in Purcellville, Virginia.

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Escobar says Advent is a response to an increasingly unprincipled film industry making "fuzzy faith-based" movies, as well as to the distressing lack of qualified Christian filmmakers needed to fill key positions as directors of big budget movies.

Case in point: Amazing Grace and The Chronicles of Narnia, two successful Christian-themed movies, were both directed by secular filmmakers. Though legions of Christians working in the industry were available, apparently none could be entrusted to direct major motion pictures.

"As a Christian community, we have not done our job to raise up superbly qualified, born-again film directors," Escobar observes.

New Set Reports from NarniaWeb

Set Report #3: Locations and Set Report #3: Roger Ford & Richard Taylor have released on NarniaWeb. These include exciting new artwork of Weta creations such as Reepicheep's rapier and Miraz's sword.

Be sure to check out glumPuddle's companion video report on YouTube.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Illinois Theater Stages Narnia Musical

Curtains up to present "Narnia, the Musical"

In four performances starting Thursday, Edwardsville's Curtains Up Theater Company presents "Narnia, the Musical," a play based on "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the second in a series of books by C.S. Lewis.

The play will be performed in the Dunham Hall Theater

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The play is directed by Jessica Bell of St. Louis, assisted by Carol Hodson of Edwardsville. Musical director is Karen Perry of Collinsville. Jerry Mueller of Godfrey designed the sets, and his wife, Sue, is in charge of costumes.

Monday, August 27, 2007

New C.S. Lewis Tours in Belfast

In the footsteps of Narnia's creator

Visitors to Belfast can now follow in the footsteps of the man who wrote The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

A new series of tours celebrate the city's link to Clive Staples Lewis.

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The two hour tour takes visitors to CS Lewis' birthplace and past Little Lea, an Edwardian home on Circular Road in east Belfast, where, many believe, the seven-year-old boy hid in a wardrobe and dreamed up his make-believe world.

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The Belfast tour also explores a little-known Lewis link to the Titanic.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

HarperCollins in Trouble?

Second quarter income drop for HarperCollins

HarperCollins saw a decrease in operating income for the second quarter, ending 31st December, parent company News Corp has announced. Operating income was 54m dollars for the second quarter, a 29.8% decrease from 77m dollars a year ago.

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"The results were not unexpected," said HarperCollins c.e.o. Jane Friedman. "We knew it was going to be tough, but it was better than I anticipated. I feel we have had a very, very good quarter."The second quarter last year was the most successful quarter for C S Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia" series, which made 104m dollars, Friedman said.

It sounds as if Narnia sales temporarily (artificially, if you will) boosted profits for previous quarter(s), and this is a more appropriate level of operation. However, we're sure they have more companion products in store, and can count on heightened interest in the original series with Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader coming down the pike.

Ideal for Lion Parties?

The Narnia Estate

No word on any affiliation with the movie, but this place, located near downtown Chicago, looks fabulous. Ideally located too, near Wheaton College, one of the noted locations for housing C.S. Lewis memorabilia.

Strike Threatens "Dawn Treader" Schedule?

Studios stock up as contract deadlines loom

"....an impending labor dispute ... could devastate the local economy. [Justice League of America] is but one of many projects caught in an industry-wide scramble to assemble films that can be completed before a potential talent strike shuts down film production next summer, according to interviews with two dozen studio executives, agents, producers and screenwriters. Studio executives and producers are accelerating screenplay revisions and A-list directors are postponing editing so they can compile footage on back-to-back movies should actors swap punch lines for picket lines.

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Disney is determined to wrap principal photography on its third "Narnia" film, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," as soon as possible, even as it completes production on the second film, "Prince Caspian." The visual effects on "Dawn Treader" would be added during any strike interruption."


**Update September 17**

NarniaWeb points out that The Silver Chair is included in the strike list.

**Update September 19**

Rather than try to cram both films in before the strike, Disney has moved Dawn Treader's shoot to after the strike.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Narnia, Potter Tied for First in Australia

Harry Potter and Narnia Chronicles voted top reads for kids

The modern-day magic of Harry Potter, Hermione and Ron may have bewitched a generation of young readers but they were not quite enough to beat a lion, a witch and a wardrobe in The West Australian’s poll to find the State’s favourite children’s book.

Readers voted for the top 12 children’s books to read before the age of 12 on thewest.com.au this week.

C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series and J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books tied as the most popular titles, with each receiving 29 votes — 11 more than the nearest competitor and top-ranking Australian title, Marcia Vaughan’s Wombat Stew.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New Production Blog on Narnia.com

"Ultimate Fan" contest winner reflects on experience (**Note** Link will change in a few weeks)

The winner of the Ultimate Fan contest is reflecting on her experience visiting the set in Prague, and releases a few tiny details about the film. (Something about Caspian riding in to Aslan's Howe on a horse?)

Check it out!

"Shadowlands" Coming to London's Wyndham’s Theatre

Full Cast Named for West End Shadowlands, 8 Oct

Full dates and casting details have now been announced for the first major revival of William Nicholson’s award-winning 1990 play Shadowlands which, as previously reported (See News, 13 Aug 2007), transfers to the West End this autumn with Charles Dance and Janie Dee (pictured together). Following a brief regional tour, the production will have a limited 11-week season from 8 October (3 October) to 15 December 2007 at Wyndham’s Theatre.

Set in Oxford in the 1950s, Shadowlands tells the true love story of CS Lewis (Dance) and Joy Gresham (Dee). Lewis, a leading Christian academic and author of many classic books including The Chronicles of Narnia, remained a bachelor until his fifties, when he met Joy. Enchanted by the American divorcee, he secretly married her and cared for her when she became terminally ill. His encounter with love and loss led him to reconsider many of the beliefs he had previously held so staunchly.

Welcome!

I am a frequent contributer of news to NarniaWeb.com, and have some inside sources for Narnia news. Sometimes, NarniaWeb considers the news noteworthy, sometimes they don't. This blog is a "storage place" of sorts for all news regarding Narnia (film AND books) and C.S. Lewis. It will contain everything from news on small-town plays to grand theatrical productions, and all the news in between.