The cast and crew of The Chronicles of Narnia
are back in New Zealand this week to begin filming the second instalment, Prince Caspian
, next week.
Kiwi director Andrew Adamson and producer Mark Johnson sat down with local media this morning to discuss the film, the cast and why they chose to film in New Zealand. ON FILMING IN NZ Adamson:
"The thing that New Zealand offers that a lot of places don't... there's not an area of Europe that hasn't been felled and regrown at some point, so finding an old growth forest is very difficult. In New Zealand, the whole west coast of the South Island is just ancient forests." Johnson:
"New Zealand crews are amongst the best in the world. That alone is a reason to come here. Eighty to 85 per cent of our crew on the last film was Kiwi-based. This time there's more. Our art department is almost exclusively Kiwi. There's so many reasons to come here but there's one or two major road blocks." ON WHY NOT ALL THE FILM WILL BE SHOT IN NZ Adamson:
"Two reasons mainly: One is the lack of stages - we shot a lot of the [first] film in equestrian centres, in tin sheds, and I spent a long time re-looping dialogue or re-recording dialogue. It slows you down not having the facilities - not being able to rig lights easily, not having good sound, having motorcycles going past outside and rain on tin roofs. All those things slow you down.
"The other thing was the weather. We got caught with a lot of weather situations last time. It snowed outside of Christchurch on the 18th of December, which was unheard of. So this time I'm going to shoot in what is actually summer - February and March. Then we go into stage in Europe and then we come out for the European summer.
"I think New Zealand has a lot to offer in terms of location, in terms of ease of access to those locations - them being close to cities and so on - but the stage space is an issue and it's something we've all talked about for a long time. Particularly in Auckland. Auckland's a big city with a big infrastructure but we still don't have big stages.
"I think it would be great if it had Government support. On the other hand the Government is very supportive of the film industry here so I don't feel comfortable asking for anything more than that. I think there's certainly a lot of opportunity for private enterprise." ON CASTING PRINCE CASPIAN AND KING MIRAZ Adamson:
"We have not yet cast King Miraz, we're still in discussions with someone on that. We have officially cast Prince Caspian finally after a very long search... He's a very talented young British actor named Ben Barnes.
"Ben is a very accomplished young man, he's been getting a lot of good reviews lately for a play that he has on the West End. He came to us very late in the game and he just blew us away. He's going to be a great
addition to the cast. I think he'll really fit in well with the other kids." ON BOOK VS. FILM Adamson:
"It's very close [to the book] in the same way that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
was. With that film what I really tried to do was imagine this story was real and CS Lewis had written a book for children about it but I was going to tell the real story so it had a bit more depth, a bit more action, a bit more grit and reality to it. I think that's true with this one as well." ON DIRECTING FUTURE NARNIA FILMS Adamson:
"I don't think so. One of the challenges we have is we actually want to put three of these films out very close together, and in actual fact, I'll probably be finishing this one when we start the next one so it's unlikely that I'll be able to do both." ON THE CHILDREN IN THE FILM Adamson:
"They're growing surprisingly fast. We just saw Georgie and Skandar yesterday and Skandar's grown probably about a foot since the last film." Johnson:
"We shoot the films very much in sequence because we can see the children getting older." Adamson:
"They've all grown up really well. They've gone back to a really normal life, which has been nice to see. They're excited about doing this again, they're treating it like another adventure. There's change in very positive ways in growing up but I'd like to say the movie hasn't changed who they are, which I'm really happy about. A lot of that's attributed to the parents. They've all got great parents." ON THE TONE OF PRINCE CASPIAN Adamson:
"This film is probably a little darker than the last one, partly because the children are older, but partly because it's a different story. At the same time, the death of Aslan was a pretty dark scene and I don't think there's anything that's harsher or less PG than that."