Director for Silver Chair

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Director for Silver Chair

Postby coracle » Apr 26, 2017 4:22 pm

This message has just been posted by "Chronicles of Narnia" on Facebook.

We are so pleased to welcome Joe Johnston, director of 'Captain America' to the Narnia family! Joe will be directing the next Chronicles of Narnia movie--The Silver Chair.

Says Douglas Gresham: "It is very good news that Joe Johnston has agreed to come on board for The Silver Chair! We need a man with real feeling for beauty, enchantment, excitement and indeed humour and fun, all things that this Movie will be full of. I am really looking for to working with Joe on the project. In the best movies, the Director is always a vibrant, hidden character in the film --- and I reckon we’ve got one!"

Producer of The Silver Chair movie, Mark Gordon, says “Joe is a wonderful storyteller who is equally at home in the biggest franchises and the most intimate character pieces. Because C. S. Lewis’s story is iconic and epic but also tender, personal and emotional, he’s the perfect choice to bring The Silver Chair to the screen."

One step closer to the next movie! Stay tuned for more movie news.


Will update as we have the information - or any changes.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby ceppault » Apr 26, 2017 5:13 pm

How very interesting, Auntie! Thank you for posting here. The Silver Chair is in very capable hands.

Very nice, Mr Gresham!!

No concerns by me. :)
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby narnia fan 7 » Apr 26, 2017 5:16 pm

So We finally have a director! The only films of his I've see are Captain America, witch I liked vary much. And Jurassic Park 3 witch I don't like all the much.

Right now I'd say I'm feeling mostly positive about this choice. I don't know if he's a fan of the book or not. I just hope he respects and understands the book and what makes it special, or at the very least have a passion for the story as it's own thing.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Apr 26, 2017 5:43 pm

Exciting!! :D

I haven't seen a lot of his films, but one thing that impresses me as I research him is his extensive artistic talent... Wikipedia says that "he began career as a concept artist and effects technician on the first Star Wars film" and "was art director on one of the effects teams for the sequel". Here's a YouTube video posted on his channel showing a time-lapse drawing of Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett:



It makes me hopeful that the world of Narnia and its magical inhabitants will have a richer, fuller, more "alive" and unique aesthetic under his direction. Narnia needs to look and feel unlike anything else on the market. Teamed up with David Magee, Johnston may have the perfect background to help create that. Fingers crossed.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Louloudi the Centaur » Apr 26, 2017 6:38 pm

Well, it's still a long way to the film being made, but this is a good step for sure!
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Glumpuddle » Apr 26, 2017 7:25 pm

So I have had a few hours to recover from this bombshell... (Not that it's surprising... just yesterday I was thinking "if they want to release this late next year, they'd better announce a director really soon)

Reaction: Hopeful and disappointed at the same time.

Hopeful because he has made some pretty enjoyable movies.

Disappointed because it looks like we can expected another blockbuster-flavored movie. Probably with a bigger budget than we have been assuming.

I was hoping for a much more interesting choice. A skilled auteur who would take risks and give Narnia a distinctive style... something geared towards a specific audience instead of the masses.

Instead, I think we'll probably end up with an enjoyable popcorn muncher. I was hoping for a lot more, but I'll probably enjoy what we get.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Reepicheep775 » Apr 26, 2017 9:10 pm

Glumpuddle wrote:I was hoping for a much more interesting choice. A skilled auteur who would take risks and give Narnia a distinctive style... something geared towards a specific audience instead of the masses.

Instead, I think we'll probably end up with an enjoyable popcorn muncher. I was hoping for a lot more, but I'll probably enjoy what we get.

Joe Johnston does seem well acquainted with the world of Hollywood blockbusters, but I don't know if we can rule out SC being more than an "enjoyable popcorn muncher" just yet. He also directed October Sky which, from what I can remember was a pretty low-key, character-driven drama. Definitely not a blockbuster.

It is interesting that the press release mentioned SC being iconic and epic, but also tender, personal, and emotional. I cringed a bit when I heard the word "epic" as I don't really think of the Narnia books as epic, particularly SC, but the latter three qualities mentioned are encouraging.

Time will tell. I don't have strong feelings either way. I think I was hoping for someone a little more unexpected as well, but I think this could still turn out to be something special.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Eustace » Apr 26, 2017 11:24 pm

It's very interesting but for my family we have watched a good number of his movies and when I mentioned different movies they all were gun ho and ready to see the film.

Captain America may have been a blockbuster but it was more character driven then the rest of the films after that and my dad liked it the best of all the superhero movies.

My sister loved October Sky and it was quite slow and definitely character driven. From what I can remember of Rocketeer I loved that, it may have had an ending action scene but it definitely did not feel like a blockbuster type film.

And my brother's favorite superhero is Captain America so he was all for it as well. So, I guess all in all I am very hopeful.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Adeona » Apr 27, 2017 1:18 am

I saw the news on another site and hurried over hear to get the low-down. ;)

At first I was just excited about the announcement in general, and moderately pleased that The Silver Chair will share directors with Captain America: The First Avenger. That movie was well done and definitely quality (if not as good as The Winter Soldier). I've never seen Jumanji but from what I've heard it's at least creative and unusual. :p

Then I read the NWeb story and learn that Joe Johnston also directed October Sky and my interest (and hope) were piqued. That is a thoughtful, emotion-driven and almost intimate film. That scene where Homer is riding down into the darkness of the mine shaft, and looks up as Sputnik passes overhead. Golly. Had me in tears the first time I saw that.

So yay for Joe Johnston!
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby fantasia_kitty » Apr 27, 2017 6:31 am

My thoughts match most everybody else's thoughts here regarding his past directing experiences. As of now, I'm completely neutral on the choice of director myself. While I know that Joe Johnston is perfectly capable of directing excellent films (yay October Sky!), so was Michael Apted (LOVE Amazing Grace).
For me, the track record of films doesn't tell me as much as how Johnston feels about the stories. Is he madly in love with Narnia? Did he grow up a crazy fanboy? Or is this just a way to make a big paycheck? That's what I want to know before I make any assumptions on how this movie is going to turn out. ;)
The similarities to Andrew Adamson amuse me though. ;))
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » Apr 27, 2017 7:42 am

Very heartening to hear some people have positive things to say about his work! Like fantasia_kitty says, though, you can't always infer what a future film will be like based on the director's filmography. I think we're just going to have to wait and see, but I'm feeling fairly optimistic at the moment. (Because it's early in the process and I can, so I will. :P) I'm not exactly sure what the definition of popcorn muncher is, but that doesn't sound like any of the films that David Magee has been involved with, and he's still going to have a lot of influence over this film.

Reepicheep775 wrote:It is interesting that the press release mentioned SC being iconic and epic, but also tender, personal, and emotional. I cringed a bit when I heard the word "epic" as I don't really think of the Narnia books as epic, particularly SC, but the latter three qualities mentioned are encouraging.


I kind of cringed at that as well, although to be fair, there are some scenes in SC that I think could fall into the "epic" category... the scenes in Aslan's Country, Jill flying across the sea to Narnia, and the ancient bridge in the high mountains come to mind. I certainly don't mean epic at the expense of character-focused, though, and it's gotten to the point where the word is thrown around so much that I'm not really sure what it's supposed to mean to the average person. :P I'm still not wild about it being used as a descriptor, but the others are very good, and if "epic" means a more majestic, powerful Aslan, and that his scenes get their due significance... I'm certainly fine with that. ;))
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Glumpuddle » Apr 27, 2017 8:31 am

After sleeping on it...

I think Johnston will do a fine job. He has made pretty good movies. :) But...

In many ways, he seems exactly like the kind of director I have been begging them not to hire. ;)) For years, I've been saying "please don't just hire someone for practical reasons. Don't just get a director you can easily control who has VFX and child-actors experience. Take a risk on a real auteur." I look at Johnston's resume and he seems a lot like what I was fearing... except that he has actually made some pretty good movies.

The Chronicles of Narnia are unique books, so I was hoping they would take a risk on somebody different. Johnston seems like a very safe choice for the production. I hope this is not a sign that the SC story will play it safe. This would mean things like adding an epic battle at the end, quippy one-liners throughout, and removing atmospheric scenes like the Bism conversation and challenging scenes like Caspian's resurrection. Basically: Taking out all the stuff that wouldn't fit in a Harry Potter or Star Wars movie. Are we going to get something different that does justice to the book or another fantasy blockbuster to throw on the pile?

That all sounds very negative, but I am expecting an enjoyable movie. :) I just hope it's more than that too! Narnia deserves it.

Reepicheep775 wrote:I cringed a bit when I heard the word "epic"


Me too, but I cringed even more at "humor." I'm not saying Narnia doesn't have a sense of humor, but the trend in Hollywood these days is to have little funny one-liners throughout the movie to tell the audience "Don't worry, we're just kidding around here! All this stuff about honor, duty, right and wrong is just for fun!" I really hope that's not what they meant by that.

That's perhaps the biggest thing that makes Narnia so special to me, especially as an adult: There isn't a trace of cynicism in it.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby Reepicheep775 » Apr 27, 2017 9:49 am

fantasia_kitty wrote:For me, the track record of films doesn't tell me as much as how Johnston feels about the stories. Is he madly in love with Narnia? Did he grow up a crazy fanboy? Or is this just a way to make a big paycheck? That's what I want to know before I make any assumptions on how this movie is going to turn out. ;)
The similarities to Andrew Adamson amuse me though. ;))

Yes. If the decision were up to me, I would make "must be a Narnia fan" a prerequisite for choosing a director for a Narnia adaptation.

The Rose-Tree Dryad wrote:I haven't seen a lot of his films, but one thing that impresses me as I research him is his extensive artistic talent... Wikipedia says that "he began career as a concept artist and effects technician on the first Star Wars film" and "was art director on one of the effects teams for the sequel".

Joe Johnston collaborated with Ralph McQuarrie in designing Boba Fett's iconic armour:

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The thing that immediately comes to mind to me is what Johnston's take on Rilian's armour will be. This is just my quirk as a knight fanboy, but as soon as SC was announced one of the things I've been anxious to see is what Rilian's armour will look like. Will it like the traditional plate armour that Pauline Baynes drew, will it get a more unique design, which era will be drawn from etc. Given the enduring appeal of Boba Fett's armour, I'd say we are in good hands on that front. :p

glumPuddle wrote:Me too, but I cringed even more at "humor." I'm not saying Narnia doesn't have a sense of humor, but the trend in Hollywood these days is to have little funny one-liners throughout the movie to tell the audience "Don't worry, we're just kidding around here! All this stuff about honor, duty, right and wrong is just for fun!" I really hope that's not what they meant by that.

I'm neutral on that for the time being. On one hand, I definitely see what you're saying and atmosphere-killing humour is one of my major pet peeves in film. The example that immediately comes to mind is the dialogue at Aslan's Table in VDT (e.g. "You are most beautiful" "If it is a distraction for you, I can change form" "NO!!"). That was a scene that should have been filled with an atmosphere of awe like it is in the book, but any atmosphere that had been building up was instantly killed in that moment and was never recovered.

Another example I can think of is in The Force Awakens when Kylo Ren takes Poe Dameron prisoner at the start of the movie. When Kylo crouches before Poe, there is an awkward silence and Poe says, "So who talks first? I talk first? You talk first?" and then says it's hard to understand Kylo beneath all that "apparatus". Star Wars has plenty of differences with Narnia, but it does share its sense of innocent sincerity. I didn't like that scene because in Star Wars the masks and costumes, which if seen in our world would look ridiculous, are just taken for granted and not questioned. It also sounded painfully 2015 in a movie that is supposed to be set "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away". 8-|

That said SC is a very funny book and there are multiple parts that have made me laugh out loud over the years. Trumpkin's deafness at Cair Paravel, Puddleglum's cheerful pessimism, Jill and Eustace's bickering ("blithering little idiot" always makes me chuckle :p ), the Head of Experiment House living happily ever after as a Member of Parliament are all great comedy and I think much of it could be translated well into film. I just hope they try to mimic Lewis's style of humour instead of trying to "modernize" or "Americanize" it and also that they have the sensitivity to know when is a good time for humour and when isn't.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby waggawerewolf27 » Apr 27, 2017 4:04 pm

Reepicheep775 wrote:That said SC is a very funny book and there are multiple parts that have made me laugh out loud over the years. Trumpkin's deafness at Cair Paravel, Puddleglum's cheerful pessimism, Jill and Eustace's bickering ("blithering little idiot" always makes me chuckle ), the Head of Experiment House living happily ever after as a Member of Parliament are all great comedy and I think much of it could be translated well into film. I just hope they try to mimic Lewis's style of humour instead of trying to "modernize" or "Americanize" it and also that they have the sensitivity to know when is a good time for humour and when isn't.


Good points! I'm no one to pick and choose directors, let alone actors, big name or not. It is great that they have chosen someone, though. At what point does a film get greenlit, though?

I love the idea of the Head of Experiment house becoming a Member of Parliament, and also the sitting of the Parliament of Owls, attended by Eustace and Jill. ;) I'm afraid I do love political satire of all shades of the spectrum, especially that Warren Brown (dailytelegraph.com.au) cartoon we had the other day of our own Foreign Minister (Julie Bishop), known for her balefully owl-like stare directed at her political opponents, the basilisk rays from her eyes shooting down allegedly North Korean missiles directed our way. :D But it wouldn't really doo to go tooo far.

Unfortunately, the rather mild comment, "blithering idiot", is just perfect for SC, but may well fall foul of what we call the PC brigade. And I worry that Americanising the film too much would just about ruin it. SC, the film, is no argument for a Narnian republic, for example, as even that self-proclaimed "staunch republican", Eustace, would agree.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby PuddleCheep » Apr 27, 2017 6:31 pm

I am very excited about Joe! I really enjoyed Captain America and Jumanji. Both did have some great character development and weren't just straight up action movies.

I do wonder if he will have as much control as Andrew Adamson did over the movie? I hope that if David Magee's script is as good as we hope it is, I just hope that Joe respects it and that he'll work closely with Douglas Gresham.
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Re: Director for Silver Chair

Postby coracle » Apr 27, 2017 6:59 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Unfortunately, the rather mild comment, "blithering idiot", is just perfect for SC, but may well fall foul of what we call the PC brigade.


Well LWW managed to get through "top geezer" and "cheeky blighter", so this should be fine.
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