Saturday, December 29, 2007

Makeup Artist Recalls Ups, Downs of Caspian Shoot

From 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.