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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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Andrew Adamson

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