Plot needed big changes, new Narnia filmmakers say

Tue Dec 7, 2010 11:41am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - The makers of the latest blockbuster based on C.S. Lewis's "The Chronicles of Narnia" books admit they departed significantly from the source material, but believe the changes made for a better film.

"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" hits movie theatres this week in the key U.S. and British markets, and much is riding on the third installment of the franchise.

The action-packed, effects-laden 3-D film follows Lucy and Edmund Pevensie and their surly cousin Eustace to Narnia where they embark on an epic sea adventure with Caspian and the feisty talking mouse Reepicheep.

British director Michael Apted, best known for Bond film "The World is Not Enough," said the Lewis estate initially questioned the need for changes to the storyline made in the script, but eventually agreed that they were necessary.

The original Lewis novel, third in the seven-book children's series, was too episodic for the big screen and lacked a narrative thread to drive the plot forward, Apted said.

"You've got to have a reason in a movie to go from A to B to C, especially in a commercial movie. So that was a big problem," Apted told Reuters in a recent interview.

He and the screenwriters spent two years coming up with an alternative, eventually deciding to borrow from the fourth Narnia novel "The Silver Chair" and its theme of captives being held underground as a way of moving the story along.

"They (the Lewis estate) were a bit put out by it at first," Apted added. "We gave them the original script to look at which was the pure adaptation of the book, and I think that they could see that there was just an inner inertness to the story."   Continued...