Joe Johnston - Q&A

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Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby Rogin » May 23, 2017 8:07 am

We have a thread solely dedicated to Joe's comments about the new "trilogy" but I figured we should have a thread for general reactions to the Q&A and discuss specifics.

Are you encouraged or turned off by his responses? What jumped out to you? Do you like the idea of a Q&A this early on in production?
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby Impending Doom » May 23, 2017 8:22 am

It looks like we're going back to New Zealand! I was honestly hoping for Scotland or Ireland but I'm not going to complain ;)

I loved his comments about wanting to "open this film up" and not wanting The Silver Chair to look like it was shot on a stage. It's really encouraging that he wants to do as much as possible on location. Could filming in New Zealand be an indication that Weta will be involved?

Very encouraged that he was willing to answer questions for an extended period of time this early on. Definitely not a 'normal' occurrence for any director. Hope this is an indicator for more behind-the-scenes and production updates down the road.
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby fantasia_kitty » May 23, 2017 8:31 am

Yeah, most of the things that he said that I wanted to discuss I've been bringing up in other threads around the forum. But this is easier to find. ;)

I'm going to start by quoting Skilletdude from the director thread, because he basically said what I wanted to say, but didn't have the right words...

Skilletdude wrote:Joe Johnston's Q&A video was very refreshing to me. He quite honestly tells us that he won't shy away from reworking scenes and dialogue when he feels it necessary, that the film will maintain Christian themes but not in an overbearing manner (like the books themselves), that his goal is to make a commercial film (not an overly dark or artsy one), that the special effects techniques will ultimately need to be cost-effective, and that he won't be pidgeon-holed into including any previous actors, design elements or creative choices in the previous films.

All of these answers, I think, are delivered very transparently to the concerned fanbase. I know not all of it will be received with excited approval, but the truth is he doesn't need our approval. I do think Johnston is wise for being so open with the fans so early, purely from a marketing standpoint. Who better to promote a film adaptation than the already dedicated fans? I have no idea if he will successfully preserve the novel's "essence", but this attempt to be forthright with us is deserving of respect.


And my own thoughts.
~I really like Joe's dry sense of humor. "I'm not right 100%, but almost, like 98% of the time." (Paraphrasing) LOL, I got a kick out of that.
~The trilogy thing I glossed over. Didn't think anything of it. Still don't.
~The mention of keeping the "essence of the story" always interprets to me that there will be a number of changes from the book. There will always be some, just how many remains to be seen.
~Will Poulter not returning isn't news. I guess the director has to say it as Doug Gresham saying it isn't viable enough. :P But the rest of the cast not returning is news, and while I'm a bit sad about a couple of them, as Skillet said up above, they need the freedom to make their own film and not be bogged down with what previous filmmakers did.
~He picked my question! Yay! and of COURSE it's October Sky, because that movie is awesome.
~His mentioning that he will try to make the film will be commercially successful is ironically one of the most concerning things he said imho. I know it's stupid to think hardly anyone would make a film, let alone a big budget one like this, without trying to make it successful. But somehow it always feels like when one goes in with that goal up front, all of the Hollywood checkboxes "You must contain romance, fighting characters, wimpy heroes, etc etc" are marked off throughout the film and it becomes very cliche very quickly and there's nothing special or unique about that. My two cents. What he said about October Sky, being low-budget, that the studio left them alone, etc, that's why that one was SO GOOD. Do the same thing here!!! :P
~I'm looking forward to seeing who all they get for a technical team. Obviously they have people already working on the film, they just don't have signed contracts yet so he can't say who they are. I've gotta find out the various artists' websites I have to start stalking now!
~I was surprised by his 25 year old John Cleese being Puddleglum comment. (See more in the Puddleglum thread on that one.)
~I was not real thrilled with the theme about "finding yourself." That was my least favorite thing he said. But maybe it will work out just fine. Maybe it will be Jill (and Eustace and Puddleglum) finding the courage to do the right thing when confronted with the four signs.

Those are my thoughts that I've come up with just sitting here without rereading the transcript.

At this point, I'm expecting a film that will be about as true to the source material as LWW and that I will like about as well. I'm very much looking forward to Puddleglum confronting the LotGK as DG said that's close to verbatim from the book. :D

ETA:
Impending Doom wrote:Could filming in New Zealand be an indication that Weta will be involved?
I had the exact same thought. ;) Maybe not an indication but at least a possibility.
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby Ryadian » May 23, 2017 12:13 pm

Personally, after what happened with VDT, I found it very refreshing that he made it clear that this movie is making a clean break from the previous movies. Regardless of whether you think they did it well or not, the previous franchise was very focused on certain things - the children being heroes in terms of might instead of heart, huge action scenes in every movie, etc. - and I don't think we would get a faithful adaptation of the Silver Chair if they felt the need to maintain those. It would just hold the movie back.

fantasia, I agree with pretty much all your points. Two other things stood out to me: first, his repeated comments about the book (and subsequently, the movie) ending with "a big battle". Of course, my alarms immediately went off, but I'm hoping he meant "big" in terms of "climactic" instead of "huge scale". The battle between Rilian and the Lady of the Green Kirtle is certainly a climactic battle, and if that's what he meant and it ends up getting a little more focus in the movie than in the book, then I'll be fine with that. ;))

The other thing was his comments that he'd been a C.S. Lewis fan since he was about 12. He mentioned reading Out of the Silent Planet at that age - I read it when I was 14/15 and I still didn't get it. ;)) It does give me some hope that, even if he's not necessarily a Narnia fan, he does at least have an appreciation for C.S. Lewis in general. He seems to at least want to stay to the "essence" of the book, and while that may be different for different people, that's at least a good place to start.
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby narnia fan 7 » May 23, 2017 12:45 pm

I was mostly encouraged by the Q&A. Joe seems to have a lot of respect for Lewis' works. And it great hear that he wants too stay as close to the book as he can or the essence of it any way.

The fact that there basically starting over with a new cast and feel doesn't bother me at all. It makes perfect sense seeing it's completely new creative team that they don't want to be handicapped by things done with the first three. I am a little disappointed that Liam Neeson won't be back as Aslan but it not a huge deal.

I was excited to hear that they might film in New Zealand. Like Impending Doom I was thinking of Ireland or Scotland for SC, but New Zealand is such a beautiful country and has a lot of good locations so no complaints there.
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 23, 2017 1:54 pm

My feelings toward the Q&A were (and mostly still are) overwhelmingly positive. I didn't even notice the "trilogy" comment at first, so I didn't go diving down rabbit holes until late Sunday. ;))

Personally, I was absolutely delighted to hear this will be a clean break from the Walden trilogy. I know some fans are very torn up about this, but I am completely happy to embrace new actors playing previously cast characters. I just want a good, faithful story. While there were performances in the Walden trilogy that I loved, nobody "owns" their character, imo. I can't wait to see a fresh take on the world of Narnia, and I'm especially excited at the prospect of a new take on Aslan because I was pretty dissatisfied with his portrayal in the previous three films. (I was also thrilled to hear Joe emphatically state that Aslan is the central character in the series! THANK YOU.)

I really appreciate the fact that Johnston's connection with Lewis stretches back to his childhood and he truly seems to respect and admire him as a storyteller. That's wonderful and gives me hope.

I think South Island NZ would be great for the scenes in Aslan's Country (just look at this picture!), but I'm less convinced it's a good spot for the scenes north of Narnia. I was kind of hoping for Scotland as well, but we'll see.

Unfortunately, the discussion of themes kind of ended the video on a bad note for me, and was probably the aspect of the Q&A that I was most taken aback by initially. Some of what he said was okay, but knowing/finding out/recognizing who you are... that was not what I was expecting. You can read my full thoughts on that here.
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » May 23, 2017 3:39 pm

My thoughts stated as briefly as possible. It is very nice of him to do fan Q &A. Somethings he said I liked, somethings he said confused me, and somethings raised red flags. Some of his answers seemed very "safe."
And one specific thought: he said "I’m going to start with an all-new cast and I don’t think anyone will say “Hey, how come that person’s not in the movie?” It wouldn’t be appropriate." Poor man. He obviously doesn't understand the attachment some people feel to Will Poulter and other actors.
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 23, 2017 3:55 pm

But it is already established that Will Poulter is now too much of an adult to play Eustace at school, and nobody has been cast for Jill Pole. All the other characters are either new or, like Caspian and Trumpkin, have changed sufficiently over time to warrant new castings anyway.

Rose-tree Dryad wrote:I think South Island NZ would be great for the scenes in Aslan's Country (just look at this picture!), but I'm less convinced it's a good spot for the scenes north of Narnia. I was kind of hoping for Scotland as well, but we'll see.


Scotland can be a bit foggy. Okay, a lot foggy. I've been to Scotland three times and have yet to get a proper look at Ben Nevis, due to cloudiness. And it rains. And then some. 8-| Ireland (both Eire and Ulster) is a very green country, I've heard, but don't know much about its mountain ranges. Belfast is a very good place to film blockbusters, and BBC and others have filmed some, such as Game of Thrones as well as films for Netflix. But Belfast is in UK, not the Republic of Ireland (Eire). But if either has cliffs going down to the sea, where flowers and trees bloom on the top, and where little birdies sing, then that would be fine, surely.

There is also a matter of exchange rates, as well as location. Ireland uses the Euro, whilst Northern Ireland and Scotland both technically use the Great British Pound. both of which currencies are comparable to the USA dollar, or higher. Scotland likes to print its own money, so-called Berwick money, which isn't always recognised south of Hadrian's Wall.

In New Zealand a USA company can get more done more reasonably, with a dollar that favours USA, in a civilized country where the main threat to peace and tranquility is if the cast get involved with words "Bledisloe Cup", or Wallabies, possums or Rugby World Cup. :D Besides, as well as lots of snow-capped alps in the South Island, New Zealand has the facilities for filming, and often the sort of government support that may be lacking elsewhere.
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby Anfinwen » May 23, 2017 8:19 pm

The video is currently unavailable. I wonder if he misspoke about something and decided to take it down, or if the studio asked him to remove it? Hopefully it will be back up soon, as it is now a part of Narnia movie history. :)
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby CorazonBandido55 » May 23, 2017 9:11 pm

Let me just start off for what I think I was disappointed with: I'm sad that they will be recasting Liam, Ben and Peter. I am also sad that they will be recasting Will Poulter, but that change makes more sense. For all the faults that the previous trilogy was presumed to have, the acting of Caspian, Dinklage and Nielsen wasn't one of them. I hope they reconsider on these three.

I was very happy to hear that they are trying to make a commercial film. Now I know that this is going to set off a lot of alarm bells for some of you, but for me it just means that Narnia is still a top-tier tent pole franchise. Anything less then a commercially viable top tier franchise would be a step down in my opinion. This will also mean that Silver Chair will most likely still carry a blockbuster sized budget. I'm still anticipating Silver Chair being the least expensive film of the Chronicles of Narnia film franchise, but I'm still thinking it'll have around a $100 million budget, which is still a healthy budget. And this type of budget is necessary to make a top-quality fantasy film with the required special effects.

Speaking of which I was very thrilled that the film is going to be filmed in New Zealand. It really sounds like they want to get a fantastical setting with the film and I think this will go along way in doing that.
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby Glumpuddle » May 23, 2017 9:34 pm

The video has indeed been taken down. An official explanation has not been posted.
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » May 24, 2017 6:41 pm

waggawerewolf27 wrote:But it is already established that Will Poulter is now too much of an adult to play Eustace at school, and nobody has been cast for Jill Pole. All the other characters are either new or, like Caspian and Trumpkin, have changed sufficiently over time to warrant new castings anyway.

Just to clarify my comment - it wasn't a comment on recasting. It was a comment on Joe's not knowing how many people would ask why someone wasn't in the movie. I am glad Will Poulter won't be back and don't have any strong feelings about others returning or not.
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby waggawerewolf27 » May 25, 2017 12:04 am

Oh, ok. No problem. I was responding to your last sentence as below. :)

Pattertwig's Pal wrote: He obviously doesn't understand the attachment some people feel to Will Poulter and other actors.


Does anyone know the process that will be taken before SC would be greenlit? :-\
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby Impending Doom » May 26, 2017 7:45 am

waggawerewolf27 wrote:Does anyone know the process that will be taken before SC would be greenlit? :-\


The Silver Chair would have been greenlit when Tristar came on board. To be "greenlit" means, basically: "How much do you need to get the project done?"

This deal enables the project creator to go, hire a crew, and find talent within the budget that was agreed upon. Which would have occurred before TriStar and EOne committed to finance the project. This is the standard process for most films (from what I've gathered).

Glumpuddle wrote:The video has indeed been taken down. An official explanation has not been posted.


Hmmm. So did he say something wrong or did he reveal something that he wasn't supposed to yet?
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby Rogin » May 27, 2017 10:52 am

I think this confirms that he misspoke about the 'trilogy' thing. His Q&A was picked up by a few mainstream websites outside of the Narnia realm which likely caused the video to be taken-down.

I wonder who the production designer and cinematographer were that he mentioned. He's a frequent collaborator with Shelly Johnson so that may be who he was referring to. If that's the case he gets two thumbs up from me!
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Re: Joe Johnston - Q&A

Postby The Rose-Tree Dryad » May 27, 2017 11:12 am

Rogin wrote:I think this confirms that he misspoke about the 'trilogy' thing. His Q&A was picked up by a few mainstream websites outside of the Narnia realm which likely caused the video to be taken-down.


I hope you're right! Like I said, the first time I watched the video, I didn't even pick up on the fact that he said trilogy in reference to the new franchise. It's quite possible that the studio people who watched the Q&A beforehand and gave the go-ahead to post it didn't notice either, but then realized that there had been a mistake when larger news outlets were posting stories about a new trilogy.

Still, you'd have thought they would have released an explanation by now, or an edited video, or a video update. I mean, if it's misinformation, then they need to fix that or else it's just going to continue being perpetuated. Maybe Johnston did misspeak, but they got to thinking about the trilogy idea and are wondering if it's not such a bad plan after all. 8-} [-( (Although there are ways I think this could potentially work without mangling the remaining books.)
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