Author CS Lewis opposed screen version of "Narnia"
Tuesday November 29 4:31 AM ET
, author of the classic children's "Narnia" books which are about to make their big screen debut, was "absolutely opposed"
to a live action version of his stories, a newly published letter shows.
Walt Disney's "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" is expected to be a big box office hit this
Christmas season, thanks to its blend of magical fantasy themes and a strong Christian slant.
But a letter from Lewis, posted on the literary Web site Nthposition.com, revealed that he had strong feelings about how his book should be used.
" I am absolutely opposed -- adamant isn't in it! -- to a TV version," he wrote to BBC producer Lance Sieveking, who had
created a radio version of his book which had met Lewis' approval.
The story tells of four children who travel through a magic wardrobe into the land of Narnia, home to talking animals,
a wicked witch and the god-like lion, Aslan.
Disney hopes that the movie, which has its world premiere in London on December 7, will be as big a hit with children as
the "Harry Potter" series, thanks in part to the support of Christian church leaders.
Although Lewis, who died in 1963, said he would have considered a cartoon version, his letter suggests he is unlikely to
have approved of Disney's interpretation, particularly its computer-generated Aslan.
"Anthropomorphic animals, when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or nightmare
-- at least with photography," he wrote.
"Cartoons (if only Disney did not combine so much vulgarity with his genius!) would be another matter. A human, pantomime,
Aslan would be, to me, blasphemy."
18 Dec. 1959
(Why do you ‘Dr’ me? Had we not dropped the honorifics?) As things worked out, I wasn’t free to hear
a single instalment of our serial [The Magician’s Nephew] except the first. What I did hear, I approved. I
shd. be glad for the series to be given abroad. But I am absolutely opposed – adamant isn’t in it! – to
a TV version. Anthropomorphic animals, when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or
nightmare. At least, with photography. Cartoons (if only Disney did not combine so much vulgarity with his genius!) wld. be
another matter. A human, pantomime, Aslan wld. be to me blasphemy.
All the best,
C. S. Lewis