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Lets assume the Greta Gerwig rumor is true.....

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fantasia
(@fantasia)
Member Admin

So, over the years with absolutely zero news on Netflix: Narnia, there have been a lot of assumptions that have sprung up with how Netflix will handle the Narnia content. The biggest one (imho) is that they'll likely start with Magician's Nephew because no one has made it before and it's different from what BBC/Walden/Animated did in the past, which was start with LWW.

When the Greta Gerwig rumor popped up about her being asked to do two movies, I immediately saw people presume "Oh, MN and LWW!!!" But is that the case? So I'm starting this thread to discuss this. IF the Greta Gerwig rumor is true, and if she's being asked to do two movies, which two movies do you think she'll be asked to do?

I'm going to go against the grain because I think it would be weird to ask one director to do both MN and LWW. They are such diametrically different stories (feeling, characters, plot) with the only tie between the two being the voice actor for Aslan and the actress for the White Witch (assuming they use the same actress, which I would imagine they will).

In my opinion, if they want one director to do just two movies, it makes much more sense to do LWW and PC together because those two stories are extremely similar (perhaps too much so) and they are much easier to produce back to back. 

I can already feel the collective groan from my fellow old-school NarniaWebbers. 😉 I'm not saying I LIKE that idea because I really, really want to see the other books given some screen time for a change (well, depending on whether or not I like the adaptation 😉 ) but I just find asking one director to do just the two stories (MN and LWW) a bit.....odd. 

Thoughts?

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Topic starter Posted : December 22, 2022 1:02 pm
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator

You have a point about LWW + PC (or LWW + VDT, plus a PC mini series) possibly making more sense, Fantasia. Hmmm  

For one thing, most of Gerwig's director credits seem to be female-led films. While Polly is absolutely a main character in The Magician's Nephew, I definitely think of MN as being Digory's story.

On the other hand, LWW and PC (and VDT) have a ton of scenes from Lucy's POV, and working with that character feels like it might be a more natural fit for her.

Not to mention working with the same director across films can be beneficial for child actors, which MN + LWW wouldn't offer.

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : December 22, 2022 4:51 pm
coracle and Col Klink liked
Impending Doom
(@impending-doom)
Adventurous Stranger Knight of NarniaWeb

I think MN/LWW offers Gerwig the chance to tackle a really fantastic character driven story and then delve into a classic of children's literature. I think the differences between the two is actually a selling feature for a director like Gerwig.

Another thing, Greta Gerwig is becoming the kind of director who tells you what movies she wants to do. Not the other way around 😉 

Posted by: @fantasia

I can already feel the collective groan from my fellow old-school NarniaWebbers. 😉 I'm not saying I LIKE that idea because I really, really want to see the other books given some screen time for a change.

You bet. I think the groan would be from more than just NarniaWebbers though. Walden's LWW remains quite popular, even after 17 years of its release. I think fans of the books can sometimes forget just how generally beloved it really was. Netflix would be foolish to pit their version immediately against it.

Maybe I'm venturing too far into what Netflix should do. My official guess is that she'll direct MN & LWW.

"Tollers, there is too little of what we really like in stories. I am afraid we shall have to try and write some ourselves." - C.S. Lewis

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Posted : December 22, 2022 6:08 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Junkie

I believe Gerwig's movies thus far have involved mothers as important characters, so I can kind of see her being attracted to The Magician's Nephew because of that. And just that whole aspect of a family dealing with a member being seriously ill strikes me as sort of Gerwig-esque.

However, what seems to interest her are mother-daughter stories, so she wouldn't be happy with Digory being male. And she'd have a big problem with Digory's mother just existing to be the mother and to motivate other characters. I can think of no way to "fix" that without a bunch of contrived changes to the story.

So...I don't really think she'd be attracted to The Magician's Nephew. Not to doing a good, faithful adaptation of it anyway, But I can imagine it appealing to her a schmeensy bit more than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or Prince Caspian.

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen check out my new blog!

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Posted : December 22, 2022 8:12 pm
hiraeth
(@hiraeth)
NarniaWeb Regular

Hmm, good point that MN and LWW would be two very different films to make back-to-back! I feel like both PC and MN have the kind of rich thematic material Gerwig would enjoy delving into. It would really depend on what she’d like to explore.

Perhaps another possibility is that they’re splitting one book into two movies? I know that this can be a trend with fantasy properties - the Wicked films are splitting that musical into two parts. Not sure how that would look in a Narnia-context though! 

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Posted : December 23, 2022 11:36 pm
Angelwings_The_Faun
(@angelwings_the_faun)
NarniaWeb Regular

I would love to see The Silver Chair get some screentime, but that aside…I’d be concerned for any adaptation coming out of Netflix. Their recent material has been light-years away from it’s source material and ridiculously contrived. 

I would love to see the Chronicles get some more love, but not at the expense of what Lewis truly created. If Gerwig can stick to the source material AND stand and her ground when it comes to dealing with Netflix execs and what they’re pushing, any one of the nine might have a chance of being halfway decent.

"None of this fazes us ...I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love..." Romans 8:39

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Posted : December 24, 2022 10:17 am
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie

If we are assuming that the only two logical pairings for a 2 movie deal would be "MN and LWW" or "LWW and PC", then I would have to assume that the former option would be the most likely.

LWW is a classic of modern literature so absolutely stands apart from the rest of the series, and I can't imagine there are many directors in the world who wouldn't be interested in directing an all-time classic in some capacity.

But when it comes to MN and PC, I just feel MN is the much more interesting story. It feels unique and different (in both story and setting) with plenty of scope for dramatic exploration of what is a fairly small character ensemble

It's quite a small, personal, and intimate story, and that to me feels like something a creative director would be really keen on.

PC by comparison always feels like one of the weakest of the Chronicles, in part because it feels very conventional story-wise, and doesn't really offer up much more than your standard Fantasy Kingdom tale.

PC just never really strikes me as a book with anything all that interesting to say, so I can't really see it appealing to a director wanting to explore interesting themes.

 

 

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Posted : December 26, 2022 5:41 pm
Duffle liked
White Wizard
(@white-wizard)
NarniaWeb Regular

As someone who is a male and close to his mother (we talk about everything), I think Gerwig will handle the nuances of Diggory quite well. 

In the Walden movies,  Peter and Edmund either took over (Peter) or ignored their mother (Edmund). Susan and Lucy never really interacted with their mother in conversation. I know it’s not in the books, but Diggory and his mother is drawn from Lewis and his mother, right?

Lewis wrote a lot of letters and talked about it, so there will be a lot of material to draw from for a script.

Lewis couldn’t save his mother, but Diggory did. 

I think Gerwig might tone down the violent protective side of men and focus on other aspects of men that don’t involve a sword and are ‘soft’, but are equally as strong and powerful.

I am a bit concerned because it is tricky to talk about masculinity in such a way without going very political or demonising men. 

 

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Posted : December 27, 2022 3:55 am
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @impending-doom

I think MN/LWW offers Gerwig the chance to tackle a really fantastic character driven story and then delve into a classic of children's literature. I think the differences between the two is actually a selling feature for a director like Gerwig.

I didn't want to say this before because I didn't want to sound too cynical around the season of hope, but I guess it's been long enough now for me to voice the question. Wink Why do you think Gerwig would want to adapt a classic, of children's literature or otherwise? She's only directed three movies and only one of them was based on a classic. (I would call Little Women a children's classic, but I'd say the 2019 movie was more aimed at teenagers. That's an observation, not a criticism.) And it was a classic that fit in relatively well with her first movie, Lady Bird, being a female-driven slice-of-life coming-of-age drama. 

I guess I can see how delving into classics in general is exciting for directors. But by your own description, Greta Gerwig isn't likely to just do what people expect. If anything, the fact that one of her three movies was based on a classic might mean she'd want to avoid doing another one out of fear out being pigeonholed.

This post was modified 1 month ago by Col Klink

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen check out my new blog!

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Posted : December 27, 2022 7:58 am
Impending Doom
(@impending-doom)
Adventurous Stranger Knight of NarniaWeb
Posted by: @col-klink

Why do you think Gerwig would want to adapt a classic, of children's literature or otherwise?

As in why would LWW would be apart of the two movies she's rumoured to be involved in? I don't think there's a chance (or a good way) to start a series without it being part of the first two adaptations.

But if you're asking why she would want to be involved with Narnia in general or why she could be a good fit, without knowing her history with Narnia, I can only speculate. Which I think would be better left to other threads 😊

But in general, I wouldn't write off a director based on their past works. Andrew Adamson, being involved with Shrek, didn't mean he was only interested in telling that kind of story. Just because Greta Gerwig has written previous mother-daughter relationships, doesn't mean she wouldn't be compelled or attracted to write a mother-son dynamic.

Posted by: @hiraeth

Perhaps another possibility is that they’re splitting one book into two movies? I know that this can be a trend with fantasy properties - the Wicked films are splitting that musical into two parts. Not sure how that would look in a Narnia-context though!

Hmmm... I don't want to think of that possibility at this point 😆

"Tollers, there is too little of what we really like in stories. I am afraid we shall have to try and write some ourselves." - C.S. Lewis

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Posted : December 27, 2022 10:53 am
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Junkie

@impending-doom I'm scared that saying this will anger Shrek fans, but it doesn't strike me as something that was a huge passion project. Giggle    I believe Gerwig's movies thus far have generally been passion projects, though it's possible she's "selling out" now. I think it's reasonable to look for common themes in her previous work and assume that those are specifically what she'd like her movies to be about.

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen check out my new blog!

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Posted : December 27, 2022 11:25 am
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie
Posted by: @col-klink

Why do you think Gerwig would want to adapt a classic, of children's literature or otherwise?

My guess:

Ladybird is about a young girl growing into adolescence and finding her place in the world.

Little Women is about 4 Women reflecting on their childhood and how it shaped the women they grew up to be.

Barbie, though not yet out, is a staple Toy of many young girls' childhoods so I would imagine that would be a key theme in the movie.

LWW is not only a classic of childhood in and of itself, but the story is principally about the youngest girl struggling to be taken seriously by her older siblings.

Sure, those are probably 4 very broad simplifications - but broadly for me the unifying themes of all those projects is Childhood, and being a Girl.

 

 

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Posted : December 27, 2022 12:03 pm
Col Klink
(@col-klink)
NarniaWeb Junkie

@icarus I agree with everything you said except that LWW is principally about the youngest sibling struggling to be taken seriously by her older siblings. I mean I guess that's how the first...third of the story could be described, but not the rest of it and it's implied that Lucy's brothers and sister normally take her seriously. They only stop doing so when she insists on something really crazy. If anything, I'd say a young girl being upset that older people won't listen to her is a more important part of Prince Caspian, which, by your own admission, is the book least likely to attract directors.

So if that turns out to be Gerwig's vision for LWW, the kindest word I could find to describe it would be salvageable. LOL That being said, I'd say the same thing about a lot of possible directors. I wouldn't call her worse than a lot of them. But, like Impending Doom, was saying, that's another topic.

Bringing it back to this topic, I'd maintain that The Magician's Nephew with its dying mother situation might lend itself better to the kind of personal drama which is Gerwig's thing than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I do agree that a heroine, as opposed to a hero, is what she would prefer. But I'm not sure if LWW would really get points from her for that. Of the four protagonists, Edmund is the one with the most dramatic character arc and Lucy is either a victim or a spectator in her most dramatic moments. I'd actually say that she's more of a heroine in Prince Caspian. But, like Icarus said, that one's a hard sell for any director. I mean I love it but other people...don't. Sad  

This post was modified 1 month ago by Col Klink

For better or worse-for who knows what may unfold from a chrysalis?-hope was left behind.
-The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield & Edward Blishen check out my new blog!

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Posted : December 27, 2022 12:24 pm
icarus
(@icarus)
NarniaWeb Junkie

@col-klink Sure, it's a broad generalisation, but I would probably go even further to suggest that LWW is first and foremost Lucy's Story. Edmund is definitely the B-Plot for me, and I think it would be a real stretch to call LWW an ensemble story.

Therefore, on that admittedly most basic level - that it's a story about a young girl - I could easily see that resonating with a director like Greta Gerwig based on her current résumé.

Throw in the fact that LWW is also a classic story of childhood that is also about childhood, then I think it seems like a pretty solid match for her.

Fundamentally though I would agree that of the 3 candidate films, MN probably seems like the stronger choice for her... It's just that PC seems by far and away the weakest choice, such that MN and LWW would have to be the pairing, if we are assuming the bit about a "Two Movie Deal" was correct.

(i guess I am though assuming it's a deal for two consecutive movies, which perhaps doesn't necessarily need to be the case? If they have multiple projects with overlapping production schedules then I guess they could easily have her do part 1 and 4 whilst others work on 2 and 3, whatever they may be)

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Posted : December 27, 2022 4:21 pm
Col Klink liked
The Rose-Tree Dryad
(@rose)
Secret Garden Agent Moderator
One additional thought to my comments about Greta Gerwig seeming more drawn to female-led films... she's the mother of a young son, so I wouldn't write off the possibility that she would be interested in adapting a mother-son story.
 

On the other hand, one thing that also comes to my mind when I think about Gerwig possibly adapting Prince Caspian is the story's unusual structure. I once tried reading PC by alternating between chapters with Caspian's backstory and the Pevensies' adventures, starting with the "The Dwarf Tells of Prince Caspian" chapter. I'm not sure I would recommend doing that as it made my head spin a bit, lol, but Gerwig's unique approach to Little Women makes me super curious to see how she would take on PC.

Posted by: @impending-doom

Another thing, Greta Gerwig is becoming the kind of director who tells you what movies she wants to do. Not the other way around 😉 

I've been thinking this as well. My headcanon is that she read Narnia as a child and wants to adapt some of the stories that inspired her the most. At the same time, it's possible that Netflix has mapped out a strategy for Narnia which includes two movies that need a director, and they thought, "How about Greta Gerwig?"

Still, the implication that she's in talks to direct two films suggests to me that she's coming from a place of actual inspiration and a desire to get deeply involved with the Narnian world.

... I'm getting off-topic. Giggle

Posted by: @hiraeth

Perhaps another possibility is that they’re splitting one book into two movies? I know that this can be a trend with fantasy properties - the Wicked films are splitting that musical into two parts. Not sure how that would look in a Narnia-context though! 

Ooh, that's interesting about the upcoming WIcked adaptation! These days TV series have become so popular, I thought they had pretty much abandoned that strategy. Honestly, I've often thought that LWW would make a great mini-series of about four to five hours long, so a two part adaptation of that could potentially work, IMO.

Posted by: @icarus

PC just never really strikes me as a book with anything all that interesting to say, so I can't really see it appealing to a director wanting to explore interesting themes.

I disagree. Tongue Giggle

I actually think that PC has one of the most intense character moments in the entire series. What Lucy has to do, choosing to follow Aslan whether her siblings listen to her or not, is extremely brave of her. Everyone has to deal with peer pressure in life, and the universality of needing to do the right thing regardless of what other people say or think makes this scene especially arresting, IMO. To me, this is the emotional climax of the book, and in a way, it bookends the beginning of Lucy's story in LWW when the others don't believe her.

Twitter: Rose_the_Dryad

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Posted : December 27, 2022 6:20 pm
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