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The Chronicles of Narnia - Andrew Adamson interview

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

Interview by Rob Carnevale

Q. CS Lewis leaves much to the imagination in his stories, did that make the adaptation process easier?
Andrew Adamson: It was really kind of a blessing and a curse. It was definitely great to be able to draw upon the imagination that I had since reading the story at eight years old and being able to bring that imagination to the screen. At the same time this book has been read by probably 100 million people, and they all have their own interpretation, their own images of it. The challenge was meeting and exceeding the expectations of all those readers. So it was somewhat lucky to be shooting in New Zealand where just about everyone I grew up with had read the book. People would come onto the set and say ‘this is exactly how I imagined it’. That was somewhat reassuring but it definitely was a challenge.

Q. Were you always thinking in the long term, of the franchise potential of these stories?
Andrew: I realised that my impression of the book from childhood was much bigger than the book itself, largely because I had read all seven. I wanted to bring the world of those other books into The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe. I think the biggest difference was that when CS Lewis wrote this story he didn’t know that the Professor had been to Narnia before. He wrote The Magician’s Nephew as a prequel, actually it’s the fifth book in the series. I wanted to integrate that, I wanted to have that aspect in there. I think that made the Professor a richer character, knowing that he’d been there before and knew what the kids had been through.

Q. How do you feel about the Christian allegory that some see as lying at the heart of these stories?
Andrew: When people are talking about the resurrection allegory and so on, I say ‘you mean like The Matrix?’. People look at me blankly and I say ‘well, there’s Neo, he’s the chosen one, and he dies and comes back and saves the world – there’s an allegory for you’. Obviously CS Lewis was a Christian, but to me spirituality and religion are very personal issues and it’s really up to the audience, or the reader, to interpret it as they wish. I’ve made a movie of the book, and what you got from the book you’ll get from the movie.