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.

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 or by calling 212-279-4200. For more information visit

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 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 ( - 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.


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 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.


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.