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Exclusive interview with director Andrew Adamson
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THE LION, THE WITCH & THE WARDROBE | PRINCE CASPIAN
back Shadows readers submitted to a list of questions that have been answered by the filmmaker in four instalments. Here's part two, talking about special effects and the fantasy genre . . .

McAvoy and Adamson on set © Disney/Walden
What is the biggest difference for you between directing an animation movie and live-action movie?
Itís storytelling. In some ways itís very similar. You figure out the best way to tell the story and then you work to get the performances. The whole time you are working to create the visual world for them to exist in. I found a lot of similarities, in different environments. The biggest difference is that in live action, you donít have to tell your characters when to blink, and in animation you donít have to worry about the weather. Extend that metaphor out and it pretty much covers everything!

In which way was the experience of making Shrek helpful for creating a fantastical world like Narnia and working with an enormous amount of complex special effects?
We storyboarded and did a lot of pre-visualization of the movie before we ever shot footage. That is something I learned from the way animated movies are made. I consider this more of a writing tool than a production tool because you get a chance to watch the movie before you make it, but it also helps with the complex effects. Obviously the other similarity was the animated characters. Narnia is populated with mythological creatures and talking animals. Although I wanted them to be photo-real in this film we employed a lot of similar animation techniques.

Are there any CGI pioneers who've influenced your work? Do you exchange know-how with any of them or does everyone in this field more or less work on his/her own?
Every CGI-intensive film stands on the shoulders of the work thatís been done before; itís a rapidly evolving field. When you work with many CGI houses there has to be a constant exchange of know-how. Sometimes we would have three different companies working on one shot: Aslan from Rhythm & Hues, Mr Beaver from Sony and some other creatures from ILM. I have been very lucky to work with many visual effects pioneers. I consider my close working with John Dykstra in particular to have been a huge privilege.

In recent years, we've seen films like Shrek, Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings make a big impact at the box office. Why do you think that the fantasy genre has become so popular?
I think fantasy has always been an important part of our storytelling, in every culture and every generation. There has been a resurgence recently and I think itís largely a reaction to the amount of reality programming. In the 80s there were a lot of natural disaster films; now we have things like Survivor. For me itís a welcome relief to step into a theatre and be transported into a world that exists only in our imaginations - worlds that we wish we could visit.

How did the new vogue for fantasy filmmaking - especially in the wake of films like Lord Of The Rings - influence your approach to the film?
They didnít really, though they did help make it possible. I think that the success of films like those have shown the studios that a wide audience is ready for faithful adaptations of classic literature.

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is based on the first novel in CS Lewis' seven-part Narnia series. It opens on December 9th worldwide.

the wardrobe

adamson Andrew Adamson filmography:

as a director...
THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE (2005)
SHREK 2 (2004)
SHREK (2001)

as a writer...
THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE (2005)
SHREK 2 (2004)

as a voice actor...
SHREK 2 (2004): Captain of the Guards
SHREK (2001): Duloc Mascot

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, NARNIA, and all book titles, characters and locales original thereto are trademarks of C.S. Lewis Pte Ltd. and are used by permission. © Disney/Walden.

© 2005 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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