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Feature: Prince Caspian

Opening pages

The battle is on! Can the latest of the Narnia film adaptations continue to hold the interest and loyalty of audiences? Starburst spoke to director/co-writer Andrew Adamson

CS Lewis fans everywhere had high expectations for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Andrew Adamson’s big-screen version of the story clearly pleased most of the Lewis and Narnia faithful. Now he’s back with the second chapter in the saga, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. In it, the Pevensie children (William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes) return to Narnia. It’s a year to them, but 1,300 years in Narnian time, and much has happened. The villainous Miraz now rules, but a young hero, Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), stands ready to take him on. Starburst recently caught up with Adamson, who talked about the challenges of making Prince Caspian, his decision to relinquish the directorial baton to Michael Apted (who’ll call the shots on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), and his involvement in the upcoming feature Tortoise and Hippo.

How surprised were you by just how big a hit The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe turned into?
I came off doing Shrek 2, which completely shocked me. So I sort of had experience having something exceed my expectations. With the last film, I knew that it was a very popular book. And I think maybe even in the US it was underrated just how popular the book was. So I sort of expected that there was somewhat of a built-in audience. But all that being said it did far better than I think we ever could have hoped for when we started making the film.

What were the major challenges in bringing Prince Caspian to the screen?
In some ways the hardest part of Caspian was the adaptation itself. The structure of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was somewhat of a cinematic structure. It was almost like a five-act structure. The structure of Prince Caspian is rather unusual in the book, in that a large part of the book is Trumpkin retelling the story of Prince Caspian to the Pevensies. A lot of it is in retrospect. And a big challenge was actually rearranging the structure. What I ended up doing, really, was looking at these three intertwined stories of Miraz, who’s the main villain to Prince Caspian and to the Pevensie children, and making them more linear and visceral.

Much of your cast from the first film is back for the sequel. How have the kids grown both physically and as actors between the films? And what did your key newcomer, Ben Barnes, bring to the table as Prince Caspian?
Actually, when casting children it’s always a risk that they’re going to go through their awkward stage at exactly the wrong moment. But, no, all of our kids look great and they have matured really well. They all have really good families, so they have become just more enjoyable, more responsible young teenagers or, in William Moseley’s case, a young man. William just turned 21, which I find hard to believe. Anna (Popplewell) is now studying literature at Oxford, and I met her when she was 13. So they have definitely all grown. And Ben was great. He was just like James McAvoy in the last film.

by Ian Spelling

Read the full interview in
Starburst #363

Prince Caspian images © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Feature © Visual Imagination 2008. Not for reproduction

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Starburst #363, see below for ordering options
Starburst #363
June 2008
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