Changing & Rearranging SC

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Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Oct 07, 2015 11:07 am

"We’re still in the process of getting the screenplay right. And it’s often a long process and a slow process sometimes. But we’re getting pretty close. I saw the latest edition not long ago and I’m very pleased with it, it’s looking really good. Making a few changes of course, organizing some things differently...."

Douglas Gresham shared these words in the most recent video update on the Chronicles of Narnia Facebook page. My curiosity is piqued about this "changing" and "organizing" business. While on the one hand I'm somewhat apprehensive because we have no idea if the alterations will be good or not, but... I'm also delighted to speculate. ;))

A quick note: while we already have a thread for differences you actually want to see in The Silver Chair, this thread is devoted to changes or reorganization that you expect the filmmakers to implement for the sake of cinematic impact, better flow, et cetera.

A few thoughts to get the ball rolling...

1. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Jill encounters Glimfeather while in the process of flying instead after she's on the ground and met up with Eustace. It seems natural that their meeting could take place during flight since he's a winged creature.

2. Trumpkin learns something of Jill and Eustace's intention to search for Rilian and puts both of them under very kindly and cushy "house arrest" at Cair Paravel; the owls later help them escape. On some level I don't like this idea because it could make the Narnians seem like they won't listen or believe the kids' story, but it's rather just that Trumpkin is a stickler for the rules. (And since he's so hard of hearing, I can imagine that they'd have some difficulty getting their points across anyway.) Being locked in their (albeit very cozy and comfortable) rooms and then escaping under the veil of night would certainly be more dramatic, and then later having to avoid possible Narnian search parties before reaching giant country could add some extra challenge to the quest, too.
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby Anfinwen » Oct 07, 2015 2:35 pm

My guess about the changing and rearranging is that it refers to scenes with LotGK. We've already discussed in other threads the best time to show flash-backs, how much to reveal, and when.
Another possibility is that the scene with Giants throwing rocks could be moved to a different place, perhaps as they're crossing the bridge, or escaping from Harfang.
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby daughter of the King » Oct 09, 2015 12:40 pm

Although I'm definitely not fond of the idea, I would be surprised if the escape from Underland isn't made more intense/actiony/anything other than them just walking to the hole near the surface in Narnia. Other than the brief encounter with the gnomes near the crack that leads to Bism, their escape is mostly a long walk in the dark. And as much as I love the gnomes there was already a long walk in the dark to get into Underland (although that might be shortened quite a bit too).

I would also expect a little more background on Jill. Perhaps showing a lot of her being bullied around the school before that particular dull autumn day.
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Oct 14, 2015 1:15 pm

Anfinwen wrote:My guess about the changing and rearranging is that it refers to scenes with LotGK. We've already discussed in other threads the best time to show flash-backs, how much to reveal, and when.


Yeah, there's a very good chance that that's at least part of what they're talking about. Flashbacks are a bit difficult to incorporate to begin with, so I wouldn't be surprised if they might move those scenes to the beginning of the film before taking us to our world to meet Jill and Eustace. (Sort of like the beginning of Prince Caspian.)

Anfinwen wrote:Another possibility is that the scene with Giants throwing rocks could be moved to a different place, perhaps as they're crossing the bridge, or escaping from Harfang.


Ooh, interesting! The idea of combining the belligerent giants with the bridge-crossing is especially intriguing... I can imagine the questers being chased and then the rickety stone bridge collapsing after they cross over it, preventing them from being followed.

daughter of the King wrote:Although I'm definitely not fond of the idea, I would be surprised if the escape from Underland isn't made more intense/actiony/anything other than them just walking to the hole near the surface in Narnia. Other than the brief encounter with the gnomes near the crack that leads to Bism, their escape is mostly a long walk in the dark. And as much as I love the gnomes there was already a long walk in the dark to get into Underland (although that might be shortened quite a bit too).


Ah, I'm afraid you're probably right. :( I imagine most scriptwriters would say there's a pacing issue to be had there, but frankly, I really love that part of the story. The eeriness and despair of the lights going out one by one, quite unlike the sudden shock and horror of being plunged into pitch darkness when the questers first fall down into Underland. I really hope they manage to keep that feeling in the film, especially because that atmosphere is largely why the following scene of the Great Snow Dance (which of course must not be cut :P) is so joyful. The contrast there is important.

One way I can conceive of them changing this scene is to have them get on one of the boats at the harbor and then be quickly washed down a series of caverns like it's a water ride at Disneyland. (Of course, there are some obvious hydrological problems with this: unless the Dark Castle is located inside a ridge or mountaintop, they need to go up, not down.) I can also imagine that they might change the linear walk to more of a climb, so that the gnomes have been drilling upwards towards Narnia rather than at an angle. In that case, they could get in one of the boats and ascend upwards with the rising floodwaters like they're in an elevator.

Perhaps the option that would be nearest to canon (and the one that I like the best), however, is to just have the horses hustle along at a good clip, perhaps dodging falling rocks and cascades of water. In the book, they do urge the horses at a canter and then even a gallop, though they eventually have to slow down because the animals tire. Racing against dying light, thundering through quaking caverns and rising rivers... that could actually be a really cool scene.

daughter of the King wrote:I would also expect a little more background on Jill. Perhaps showing a lot of her being bullied around the school before that particular dull autumn day.


I wouldn't be surprised by that either. Bullying is a popular topic these days and they'll probably expand on those scenes because of that. I actually kind of like the idea of them starting the film by showing her arriving at the school, and then having a sort of montage that quickly encompasses everything that's wrong with the school (the mad Head, some of the bullying incidents Eustace referenced, et cetera), because otherwise we may not be able to get a strong sense of what the school is really like. In the book, the reader gets a pretty good impression of just how unpleasant life is at Experiment House based on what the narrator and Jill and Eustace say about it, but in a movie, you usually need to show rather than tell.
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby Glumpuddle » Oct 15, 2015 10:28 pm

I was pondering alternative ways to open SC the other day.

Here's a crazy idea.

Imagine opening credits. Slow, epic helicopter shots of an ENORMOUS mountain...
Emotional, dreamy, grand music...
Close-ups of streams...
Waterfalls...
Strange birds...
Huge forests...
BOOM!!!! A flash of light as two children stumble into the grass seemingly out of nowhere! They lay on the ground panting for several seconds, stunned, then start looking around asking "What happened?! Where are we?!" etc. The boy seems a little less freaked out than the girl. The girl eventually says something like "Is this the world you were talking about? Have you been here before?"

So obviously, the audience doesn't know who they are or where they came from. Yet.

Eustace falls over the cliff, Jill finds Aslan, and it's there that those details can start to be filled in. Jill explains to Aslan that they were running from bullies when they tried the door...etc.

Maybe later in the story, there are flashbacks to Experiment House, or maybe just dialogue that explains things a bit more. But maybe not! I like it when movies skip introductions and force the audience to catch up. Most famous example: original Star Wars. It's something that seems to work better in film than in books.

Thought of this after re-watching the 1979 LWW animated film, which opened the movie with Lucy jumping out the wardrobe and saying "I'm here, I'm here, I've come back!"

So... how crazy am I? ;)
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby Anfinwen » Oct 17, 2015 6:46 am

I don't think it's crazy. It would pull people straight into the the main storyline and keep filmmakers from spending too much time on non-canon backstories and anti-bullying. Lewis made his point on bullying without dwelling on it, but I don't trust modern filmmakers to do the same.
However, I'm not sure which opening I would actually prefer. I would like to see Eustace and Jill's conversation behind the gym, and when they call to Aslan. I just don't want them to prolong it with more material. C.S. Lewis was right on target when he wrote that he would say as little as possible about the school, because it wasn't a school story.
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Oct 17, 2015 2:37 pm

That's a very intriguing idea, gP. :-?

I definitely wouldn't write it off as crazy, and here's why: adequately illustrating the numerous things that are wrong with Experiment House would take a fair amount of screen time, and that would cut into the more important time in Narnia. Like Anfinwen said, this isn't a school story and shouldn't be. If a scriptwriter is having difficulty squeezing in all of the necessary Narnian elements, then it would be natural to put school scenes on the chopping block. They're not part of the quest or the "core" story.

That being said, would the viewer have a good understanding of Jill's character without having seen what she left behind in England? The situation at Experiment House plays a huge role in why Jill is so hesitant to trust anyone or anything. For that reason, flashbacks might be necessary. I can imagine brief, visual flashbacks being used to drive home what Jill is thinking or feeling: some fleeting frames of Jill crying behind the gym and Eustace offering her a peppermint when she is crying at the top of the cliff, indicating her guilt and shame, or perhaps a flashback to the austere, cruel environment at Experiment House when Jill is longing for hospitality and hot baths at Harfang.

Even this alternative opening notwithstanding, there is an instance in the book canon that might be interpreted as a flashback in film:

in Chapter 12 of The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis wrote:Of course a lot of things darted into Jill's head at once: Experiment House, Adela Pennyfather, her own home, radio-sets, cinemas, cars, airplanes, ration-books, queues. But they seemed dim and far away. (Thrum—thrum—thrum—went the strings of the Witch's instrument.) Jill couldn't remember the names of the things in our world. And this time it didn't come into her head that she was being enchanted, for now the magic was in its full strength; and of course, the more enchanted you get, the more you feel that you are not enchanted at all.


If the film has already been dotted with flashbacks to England up until this point, the "fuzziness" of this particular flashback might actually help drive home to the audience what kind of effect the enchantment is having on Jill's brain. That could potentially be a very useful storytelling tool in that scene.

Beyond that, I can also think of a more practical reason to utilize flashbacks: interspersing footage from England as Jill describes what happened to Aslan would cut down on the time that a pricey CGI lion is on screen.

While I'm somewhat skeptical about its overall impact on the story, I think it could potentially work. I would miss Eustace and Jill's conversation behind the gym, and I'd also wonder what would become of Caspian's trip to England at the end of the story. (Maybe they would show him going with them and hinting at the bullies' comeuppance, rather than actually showing the scene itself?) Further, if the film had many flashbacks in it, I think it would need to be done with a very careful and practiced hand. They need to be artsy and aid in telling the story, not choppy and confusing.
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Oct 31, 2015 11:46 am

Double-posting because we have a bit of news that is relevant to this topic. :D

Douglas Gresham wrote:I have learned some of the necessities for changes to a book to make it work in a kind of movie format. I’m kind of a Narnia purist, and I make myself really objectionable sometimes when people want to change things that shouldn’t be changed. But we usually work along together and get to a compromise situation in the end. And I know there are going to be things that we will have to change slightly and modify in The Silver Chair. A lot of it is about three people walking across a bleak landscape. And you could keep that going for an hour or two, but you still wouldn’t have a movie. So, obviously things are going to have to happen during those times. And these are things I’ve learned through working on the other movies. This one is very different from the ones we’ve done so far.


Interesting! Part of me wants to protest and say that the "hiking through Ettinsmoor" part of the book only comprises about three chapters out of sixteen, but Gresham may also be including the long, underground trek into and out of Underland as "walking across a bleak landscape." On that level, I see his point.

There are quite a few interesting things that happen during these dreary travels, though: the giants at the gorge, crossing the ancient bridge, meeting the Lady and the Knight, stumbling upon the strange trenches atop the ruins of the giant city, seeing the resting place of Father Time and the sleeping beasts that will wake at the end of the world, sailing across the sunless sea, et cetera. I will say, though, that in many of these cases, our questers are more like witnesses than participants in anything particularly exciting, and they may feel that they need to change things up a bit in order for it to work well as a film.

For instance, I could imagine them changing the scene at the gorge so that the giants actually see the trio and chase/attack them, or altering the scene at the stone bridge so it gives way and crumbles as the questers are crossing over it. (Sabotage, perhaps! Dun dun dunnn! :P) The hill of the strange trenches might also be made more maze-like so that getting lost in it will add more desperation to reaching the door of Harfang.

On another note, Gresham's mention of talking animals made me wonder if they might not have Puddleglum, Jill and Eustace meet the ill-fated stag at some point during their travels into Ettinsmoor. While that would make the later scene at the giant's lunch in Harfang all the more disturbing... well, that's the point, it's supposed to be disturbing, as well as to illustrate the barbarism of the northern giants.
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby PhelanVelvel » Nov 01, 2015 12:53 am

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:On another note, Gresham's mention of talking animals made me wonder if they might not have Puddleglum, Jill and Eustace meet the ill-fated stag at some point during their travels into Ettinsmoor. While that would make the later scene at the giant's lunch in Harfang all the more disturbing... well, that's the point, it's supposed to be disturbing, as well as to illustrate the barbarism of the northern giants.


I like that idea. It adds something that wasn't in the book while still staying true to the spirit of the book. It's not even creating a new character, just using an existing one in a slightly different way, which I think is the key to "making stuff happen" without changing the whole plot around entirely.
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby Eustace » Nov 04, 2015 10:44 pm

Douglas Gresham wrote:I have learned some of the necessities for changes to a book to make it work in a kind of movie format. I’m kind of a Narnia purist, and I make myself really objectionable sometimes when people want to change things that shouldn’t be changed. But we usually work along together and get to a compromise situation in the end. And I know there are going to be things that we will have to change slightly and modify in The Silver Chair. A lot of it is about three people walking across a bleak landscape. And you could keep that going for an hour or two, but you still wouldn’t have a movie. So, obviously things are going to have to happen during those times. And these are things I’ve learned through working on the other movies. This one is very different from the ones we’ve done so far.


Although, I do not mind in general rearranging and some changes if they are done well, I am kind of confused by why he would feel the need to hurry up their journey or make it more exciting. The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies had a lot of people journeying and a lot of times there was no action. Silver Chair has a lot of less of the journeying and so, I don't really see a reason to do any extra action scenes. But, I am not greatly opposed to something like what we got in the LWW movie,with the waterfall scene. I have thought a while on what they would make action scenes, and I liked The Rose-Tree Dryad's ideas.
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby Reepicheep775 » Nov 05, 2015 1:29 pm

I wouldn't mind, and might actually like, some expansion of Jill's life at Experiment House at the beginning of the film. It would give the audience some time to be with Jill and sympathize with her before she is whisked off to Narnia. I thought that worked well in LWW It doesn't have to be much. Just one incident of her being bullied - expanding on the bullies chasing her for example - would be enough.

For that reason, I also wouldn't want the movie opening with Jill and Eustace materializing in Narnia. I get that the Experiment House stuff could dig into valuable time, but I do think it is important because it sets up Jill as a character and shows that the two main characters, though mostly Jill by this point, have basically been raised without a moral compass because of Experiment House's odd views of justice.
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby wolfloversk » Nov 06, 2015 10:16 pm

I've always said I kinda hope they start this one in Narnia.

And here's why I think it's plausible that they would:

If you started in Narnia showing the queen being killed and the prince vanishing you get a sense of urgency right away and it would be a nice way to set the stage for the audience. You'd have to do this with care so as not to reveal who the knight or the snake is of course, but I think it would be doable and better than having a flashback in the court of owls (though I still hope there's a court of owls!) It would also pay homage to Prince Caspian.

That being said they certainly wouldn't have to and I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't, but I wouldn't be surprised if they did either. Whether they did or not, I'm expecting them to expand on Rilian's story visually, rather than simply having an owl say he ran off. That way the audience will feel for him more and want the characters to find him. Upping the stakes if you will.

Speaking of owls... I'm wondering how they're gonna pull off having the kids fly on the backs of owls. In the books talking animals are always bigger than regular ones, but in the movies they haven't been and its not exactly possible for most species of owl to lift a child. I'm guessing they'll make Glimfeather and his pal giant owls, kind of like the giant eagles in the Hobbit and LotR. Because of this I'm guessing that if we see the court of owls, we'll see owls of all shaped and sizes from the palm of your hand to riding size (though this is partially a hope of mine too :P) The other option would be changing them to griffins or not flying at all, but I hope they don't do either because of the pure majesty of the flying scene and the fact that readers associate it with Glimfeather :P .

Other than that, they'll probably use a scene to show them passing over lands in sped up time (ie. clips of days changing as they travel) instead of trudging on hour after hour based on the last interview with Gresham.

And finally I'm betting there will be some vocal reference to LWW :P
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Feb 26, 2016 12:30 pm

I was looking at scriptwriter David Magee's twitter and saw a tweet where he was talking about his favorite characters to write for Silver Chair. He said that he spent the most time thinking about Jill, that he loved how Eustace's character evolved, and that imagining Puddleglum's voice made him smile.

The bit about Eustace got me thinking, since I think the primary evolution in Silver Chair is seen in Jill and her journey with learning to trust. Eustace grows, but if you're looking at SC on its own, I don't think you see that much evolution with him. When you compare it to the person that he was in the beginning of VDT, though, you can see a much greater transformation.

Since it will probably be seven or eight years since the release of VDT and Will Poulter's Eustace will likely have faded somewhat from public memory, I wonder if they might not show a few scenes of Eustace in his bullying, "pre-Narnia" state at the beginning of the film to give the audience a better sense of the scope of his character. A drawback I can think of is that it might take up a bit too much time, but I was expecting them to expand on the Experiment House scenes anyway, simply because it's important for introducing us to Jill's character.

I kind of like the idea; I think it would be interesting to see, even if it's not much more than a montage. It also might help Eustace's new actor take full possession of the character.
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby narnia fan 7 » Feb 27, 2016 7:15 pm

Speaking of David Magee's Twitter I saw another tweet from him that my caught attention, it said that they have spent a lot of time thinking about what Jill's life was like before Narnia.

This is something that some of us fan's thought they might explore and it will be interesting to see what they have come up with but it's not something I would want them to go to far with her pre-narnia life.

I've always thought it was fascinating that Lewis don't go into her life before the Silver Chair and left it too the reader's imagination as he did with many things in the chronicles, but I can see for a film wanting too expand on the main character and depending on what back story they add it could enhance Jill's character arc we'll have too weit and see.
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Feb 29, 2016 6:39 pm

glumPuddle wrote:BOOM!!!! A flash of light as two children stumble into the grass seemingly out of nowhere! They lay on the ground panting for several seconds, stunned, then start looking around asking "What happened?! Where are we?!" etc. The boy seems a little less freaked out than the girl. The girl eventually says something like "Is this the world you were talking about? Have you been here before?"


That sounds a fantastic way to begin the film. If anything about Experiment House really has to be mentioned in the film at the beginning at all, it should be no more than Eustace meeting a sobbing Jill, and before they can say much to each other, the bullies call out, chasing them into Narnia through that garden gate. The details can be caught up with later, if necessary.

daughter of the King wrote:Although I'm definitely not fond of the idea, I would be surprised if the escape from Underland isn't made more intense/actiony/anything other than them just walking to the hole near the surface in Narnia.


There is plenty that can be done if one is just inches away from a rising tide, including parts when they might be wading or even swimming rather than just walking, as you say, leading the horses, who also need looking after. Even the book suggests as much. In my opinion this is one of the most dramatic parts of Silver Chair and a good time to establish it as a first rate film.

Just look at footage of 2011's Fukushima tsunami that caused so much havoc, or the earlier 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Something similar in destruction would have happened to LOTGK's underworld city as it came crashing down. Not so much as a big wave crashing down on it, but a fast-rising swell or surge, ever encroaching everywhere, especially as bits of buildings start falling into the Underworld sea. Remember the lights going out? Water can be quite dangerous enough in even a normal flood if you don't watch out. Road statistics are littered with the victims of even local flash floods, let alone the stuff that finds itself on international news. If you don't believe me, try living close to the main storage dam for your nearest major urban centre, with all the political bickering on what could happen if it fails.

In any case this part of SC, once they have killed the witch/snake, to when they finally emerge into Narnia, would have to be among the most dramatic sequences of the entire story, only second to the climax when they finally overcome LOTGK. They don't know if they can trust the gnomes, they are tempted by the thought of other worlds to visit, and it must have been hard when the chasm snaps shut and they had to follow the way pointed out to them, with chaos right at their heels.

daughter of the King wrote:... there was already a long walk in the dark to get into Underland (although that might be shortened quite a bit too)..


Yes there was a long hike, but not necessarily in the dark, even though the days were closing in due to the onset of winter. This is where I expect there to be plenty of flashbacks as they prepare to camp for the night if Eustace tells Jill what he remembers about Caspian, no doubt with Puddleglum's help.

daughter of the King wrote:I would also expect a little more background on Jill. Perhaps showing a lot of her being bullied around the school before that particular dull autumn day.


Yes, that is a good idea, so that conversations are an exchange of information rather than a one-sided series update. It also shortens the time necessary to get Jill into Narnia and makes their arrival there more surprising. Something like what glumPuddle envisaged earlier this thread.

narnia 7 wrote:I've always thought it was fascinating that Lewis don't go into her life before the Silver Chair and left it too the reader's imagination as he did with many things in the chronicles, but I can see for a film wanting too expand on the main character and depending on what back story they add it could enhance Jill's character arc we'll have too weit and see.


Yes it is really intriguing, especially as much of the SC story is from her point of view. What do others here make of what she says about herself? Like how she handles the last part, especially.
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Re: Changing & Rearranging SC

Postby Impending Doom » Mar 02, 2016 7:28 am

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote: Since it will probably be seven or eight years since the release of VDT and Will Poulter's Eustace will likely have faded somewhat from public memory, I wonder if they might not show a few scenes of Eustace in his bullying, "pre-Narnia" state at the beginning of the film to give the audience a better sense of the scope of his character.

However promising that may sound, it doesn't appear the filmmakers be going down that route. David Magee replied to a question a fan asked about flashbacks with
David Magee wrote:"We considered flashbacks to fill in Eustace's back story, but decided we didn't need them."

It's such a a benefit having one of the filmmakers on social media who are actually willing to answer questions and clarify things!
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