ADAMSON, ANDREW - THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN
You need challenges to grow, and drama needs comedy – says director Andrew
Adamson, who needs rest, as he explains in the Q & A.
Q: So how was it bringing the magical world of Narnia to the screen the
second time around in The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian?
A: You would think it would be easier, certainly I came in with more confidence
and I had learnt a lot on the first one. Also on the first one I went into it
with a naivety and blissful ignorance that made it much easier to rush towards
my mistakes. On this one I knew some of the pitfalls and still had to rush
toward them because a lot of them were inevitable. But the other thing is I
think if you want to grow and keep challenging yourself you put great challenges
in front of yourself. That’s in terms of the depth of the story and the
characters, in terms of the scope, in terms of the number of locations, the
number of areas, the number of visual effects and the complexity of all those
things. I think this film ended up being a more complex film.
Q: Your stars had all grown-up a bit since they made their debuts in The
Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, how was it assembling that young cast again
for this adventure. Was that any easier because they’d done it before?
A: Certainly there’s a familiarity and shorthand that meant we got into the
groove a little quicker this time. But equally on the first day everyone’s
nervous, it’s still the first day, it’s like the first day of school. But with
all of these kids the thing that I was really happy about and one of the
promises I made to their parents, was to try and make this a positive experience
for all them. I think one of the affirmations I had of that was when the last
film came out, and the trailer came out I tried to get hold of everyone to see
if they were okay about it. I left a message for Georgie, she sent me an e-mail
the next day saying that she’d seen the trailer, it was a very good job and she
was proud of me. And then she went on for about two paragraphs about a game of
rounders in which she’d scored two points. It was really lovely for me to see
where her priorities were, that’s the best thing for me with those kids, that
they’ve kept their priorities in the right place.
Q: There is a fair bit of comedy in The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
How tricky was it finding the balance of comedy within the drama?
A: There’s a number of characters in the original story that I saw had comedic
potential, and were actually written as comedic characters. I think it’s pretty
easy to say that if you cast Eddie Izzard as a 22 inch high mouse who takes
himself very seriously, it’s going to be funny. If you cast Peter Dinklage in
any film, he’s going to be comedic. The other thing that I found this time round
was that the audience had got to know the Pevensies, and there was a lot of
opportunity for genuine character humour, from characters that we had spent a
lot of time setting up in the last film. So I think that also helped to give me
time for the comedy, because we knew who they were and we already had a
relationship with them. I think with a serious film, and a film that has quite a
strong dramatic message, and has a lot of action, it’s comedy that allows you to
let it reach a broader audience.
Q: Do you think that there are any contemporary political resonances in the
story of The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian?
A: Certainly there’s a lot of resonances to a number of situations. C.S. Lewis,
like Tolkien, was very concerned about the environment, and there’s
environmental issues with nature fighting back which is as pertinent now – or
more pertinent – than it was when he wrote the books. I think one of the things
I that he drew from mythology across many, many thousands of years and in fact
combined a lot of mythologies; Nordic, Greek, Roman, what-have-you. I think a
lot of those things are dealing with human conditions that have existed for
thousands of years and those human conditions are as appropriate today as they
were when he wrote the book and therefore they can seem still very contemporary
when you see them put in this format.
Q: You are not directing the next Narnia film, The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader
Why are you stepping down?
A: (laughing) Have you seen this film? Have you seen the last two films? Have
you seen the last four films? Between Shrek and Narnia it’s been 11 years of
non-stop, overlapped films for me. I’ve made certain promises to my own family,
and on top of that I want to get back to this experience that I remember from a
long time ago when I finished high school, that day when I woke up and I thought
‘I’ve got no homework,’. I’d love to get back to that feeling and enter the next
project with a really fresh mind, and just find something that’s based on having
nothing in front of me for a while.
Published November 27, 2008
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