I loved new Voyage of the Dawn Treader film, by the way... go and see it! (Multiple times!)
Hi Doug, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!
Did you ever think that The Chronicles of Narnia would still be as popular as they are today?
I have never doubted it at all. I think that anyone who does not read them and grow up with them is sorely deprived and should remedy the matter immediately. :-)
Do you have a personal favourite when it comes to the books?
Yes, it’s whichever one I happen to be reading at the time that someone asks me that question. Bear in mind that my two full-time jobs as Executive Producer of the Movies and overseeing the Creative and artistic Direction of all things C.S.Lewis for the C.S.Lewis Company means that I am almost always re-reading one or another of them.
You produced the recent movie adaptations of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. What exactly did this role entail?
Actually I can't claim to be the Producer, that's my friend Mark Johnson, I am a sort of one-off. An Executive Producer may do many things and in some cases actually does nothing more for a film than get a credit on screen. In my case, I try very hard to safeguard Narnia itself and to ensure that everything that is portrayed as part of Narnia looks and feels and is Narnian. I consult on just about every facet of the process of making the movie, from scripting to casting to set design and decor and so on and so forth. I guess basically I am a Narnian nuisance.
What was it like to film your small cameo scenes?
Filming anything is a weird mixture of short spates of great fun and lots of standing around being bored. Cameos are fun though because it has become something of a challenge for my friends and fans to try to recognise me and pick out what role I play without looking to the credits to find out. But I am no stranger to on-camera work having been in radio and TV for years, so I suppose its just another job to me whereas it might be something hugely exciting to someone who had never done that kind of thing before. I think it’s good for me though because it reminds me again of what our cast and crew go through to put the pictures on the screen.
Do you think your stepfather would have been proud of these films and how they present his stories?
I certainly hope so. I think he would be astonished and delighted at what we have done visually with Aslan and Reepicheep and the others.
It is only right now in history that technology has developed to the extent that we have become able to do justice to his wonderful characters and visual descriptions.
Are there any plans (that you know of) to make more films, or is this the end of Narnia on the big screen?
That, as always depends on how much support we get from the public.
You see behind us who make the movies, there are people who have risked a great deal of money to provide the budget for us, our kind of movies with all their location work, their Computer Generated Imagery, their Prosthetic makeup and Special Effects, are very expensive to make. Those investors need to get their money back at the very least and preferably make some profit from their investment and trust in us; so we need to have a financially really successful movie in order to persuade them to fund us for the next one. If everybody takes their friends and their friend's friends and their enemies too (you are supposed to love your enemies too remember) and goes along to see The Voyage of The Dawn Treader, preferably more than once, then we will probably be able to ask our financiers to provide us with a budget to make the next one. In fact if the public support us well enough at each movie, I will be delighted to make all seven of them.
If you could choose one Chronicles of Narnia character to have a cup of tea with, who would it be and why?
I presume you are excluding Aslan from this, in which case it would be Puddleglum for his company because I knew and loved the man upon whom he is modelled, or maybe Reepicheep because I have such admiration for that noble Knight, or perhaps Professor Kirke so that I could gain some of his wisdom, or perhaps ----but this could go on all day. :-D
I hope I have answered your questions sufficiently.
- The Chronicles of Narnia books at HarperCollins