Empire recently posted an exclusive interview with Ben Barnes, who plays Caspian, and “Dawn Treader” director, Michael Apted. While the questions touched briefly on Apted’s tenure as a James Bond director and his “42 Up” documentary series, and on Barnes’ title role in “Dorian Gray,” the focus was primarily on “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”
Here are some highlights:
This was my favourite book, says our Dan Jolin. This is the Sinbad one – is that what you’ve gone for?
Apted: “Yes, it is a journey, it is an adventure. They aren’t in Narnia at all. The whole film is a voyage, which is a tough thing to pull off, to keep the energy going from island to island.
Barnes: “It was my favorite book too because it has that voyage element to it, like Sinbad or Jason And the Argonauts. We’ve gone slightly bigger than those films though. It’s not a papier mache dragon this time – although there was a very large papier mache rock at one point.
Apted: “Don’t tell them everything!”
The film changed studio after you joined, Michael – how did it change?
Apted: “It’s been a long journey; we deliver the film in December but I’ll have been on it by then for three-and-a-half years. I was hired while Andrew Adamson was still making the second one, so he couldn’t have done it, because it’s not like Potter; each is a different world so you can’t do them back to back. We then faced a world of economic problems and we thought we were dead in the water, but Fox came aboard and then we started. We shot in Australia and now we’re finishing here.”
How easy was the transition between Disney and Fox?
Apted: “Well, it had to be a smooth transition because we were either going to make the film or we weren’t, and Fox took it on as a package. Most of the work and casting was done. It really wasn’t a studio coming in and starting over – too much money had been spent. We brought in another writer and the script went through another couple of drafts, which worked very well for us. We had concept art that they had to sign off on.”
Barnes: “And you were stuck with me. But even sticking close to the book you can have a completely different structure.”
Dawn Treader marks a bit of a tonal shift in the series. Is that something that you’ll express in the film?
Apted: “I think what they were looking for with the Dawn Treader was to go back into more of the magical world of Lion and the Witch. Caspian was a very political film, and they were looking to go back a bit to the magic and fun of Lion and the Witch. There’s quite a lot of humor in that. So I was asked to revitalize that aspect of the franchise.”
They go on to discuss the possibility of making The Magician’s Nephew next, among other things.
You can read the whole interview here (you’ll have to scroll down until you see the photo of Lucy on the Dawn Treader).