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‘Narnia’ Fans Can Breathe a Sigh of Relief as Netflix Director to Treat Project with ‘Reverence’

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Film director Greta Gerwig says she is treading lightly when it comes to taking on her latest project – two new films from “The Chronicles of Narnia” series for Netflix.

Although the 40-year-old is raking in awards for last summer’s blockbuster Barbie film and has received six Academy Award nominations — including Best Adapted Screenplay for her adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women—she is taking extra care when writing the screenplay for the beloved series. 

“I’m slightly in the place of terror because I really do have such reverence for Narnia,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today program. “I loved Narnia so much as a child. As an adult, C.S. Lewis is a thinker and a writer. I’m intimidated by doing this. It’s something that feels like a worthy thing to be intimidated by.”

“As a non-British person, I feel a particular sense of wanting to do it correctly,” she continued. “It’s like when Americans do Shakespeare, there’s a slight feeling of reverence and as if maybe we should treat it with extra care. It is not our countryman.”

Fans have been waiting more than a decade to see if more of the books would finally be turned into movies. In 2005, Walden Media and Disney scored a box office blockbuster with a film adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and then Prince Caspian in 2008. Fox later released The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 2010.

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Gerwig was tapped by Netflix for her knack for turning beloved childhood icons, like the Mattel doll and Alcott’s book, into successful films. 

“[Gerwig] grew up in a Christian background. The C.S. Lewis books are very much based in Christianity,” Scott Stuber, chairman of Netflix Film, told Variety. “So, it was just a great opportunity, and I’m so thrilled that she’s working on it with us. And I’m just thrilled to be in business with her. And she’s just an incredible talent.”

As CBN News reported, Netflix acquired the rights to the series after Walden Media let its rights to the Chronicles of Narnia lapse in 2018.

“C.S. Lewis’ beloved Chronicles of Narnia stories have resonated with generations of readers around the world,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said in a press release at that time. “Families have fallen in love with characters like Aslan and the entire world of Narnia, and we’re thrilled to be their home for years to come.”

According to the deal between Netflix and The C.S. Lewis Company, the streaming service will develop stories from the Narnia universe into series and films that the producers hope will cross mediums, similar to what the Star Trek and Marvel franchises have done with their successful properties.

The deal marks the first time one company officially holds the right to the entire seven books of the Narnia series.

Gerwig’s adaptation of the series is expected to have big success. 

The previous three Narnia films have collectively grossed more than $1.5 billion worldwide. 

More than 100 million copies of Lewis’ Narnia books have been sold. They have also been translated into more than 47 languages worldwide.

 

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