Making the third ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ film was a trying venture on a number of levels. Not only was director Michael Apted stepping in for Andrew Adamson, the director of the first two films, but Apted also experienced a whirlwind of scheduling changes. On top of that, he faced the challenge of shooting a film that takes place primarily out to sea with a variety of monsters and creatures that would never be seen until post-production.
It’s been quite some time since Apted signed on to direct ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ — the film opens Friday — and the director is quite anxious to see how his creation performs. Cinematical sat down with Apted, who was more than willing to look back on the experience –the good and the not so good — and elaborate on everything from playing the waiting game while budget issues were sorted out, casting a character that could go on to star in a fourth film, working with a heavy amount of CGI and much more.
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Ready to go back to Narnia? Well, you’ll get the opportunity in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – kind of. Yes, the film is part of the beloved series, but the third installment just isn’t up to par in many aspects, so when director Michael Apted takes the action out of Narnia and aboard the Dawn Treader, the world we’ve grown to love is almost entirely absent. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t some fun to be had out to sea.
Lucy and Edmund (Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes) are stuck in Cambridge living with their obnoxious cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) while Susan and Peter (Anna Popplewell and William Moseley) are off on “adventures” in America. With wartime tensions keeping Lucy and Edmund from joining their older siblings, the two are desperate to escape their bleak reality and return to Narnia. Finally the time comes and they’re transported to the magical ship, The Dawn Treader, through a painting, as is Eustace, who isn’t thrilled about going along for the ride.
Upon arriving, they’re reunited with Caspian (Ben Barnes), now King Caspian, and briefed on the situation. Innocent people are being sacrificed to a mysterious green fog that has the power to make your darkest thoughts a reality. In order to defeat it, they must collect the seven swords of the Lords of Telmar and place them on Aslan’s table. The trouble is, these swords are scattered across various islands, each of which poses a new threat.
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Growing up is hard enough as it is; imagine going through the transition twice. That’s kind of what Skandar Keynes experienced. Not only did he have to mature himself, but through his character Edmund Pevensie, too. It all started about seven years ago when Keynes first joined his onscreen siblings Georgie Henley, Anna Popplewell and William Moseley on the set of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Keynes is Edmund, the younger brother and the Pevensie suffering from a case of middle child syndrome. In the first film he wasn’t the nicest of the bunch and that attitude made him vulnerable to the White Witch. With a little help from Aslan, Edmund learns his lesson and emerges as a young man worthy of the title King Edmund the Just of Narnia. Edmund wears that attitude proudly throughout the second film, Prince Caspian, and continues to do so in the franchise’s latest installment, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The stakes are far higher this time around because he makes his return to Narnia without his big brother and now assumes the role of High King.
So what’s it like for Keynes when he’s not decked out in knight-like attire and wielding magical swords? Life is actually quite normal. Keynes enjoys the action and adventure involved in making the Narnia films, but also values his privacy and his opportunity to study at a university. Read on to learn about Keynes’ experience in Narnia and beyond.
Click here to read the interview.