Walden Media Hires Shrek Director Andrew Adamson to Helm Narnia Film

Posted on August 21, 2002

Walden Media has hired director Andrew Adamson, who directed Shrek, to helm the first live action feature film adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Adamson joins award-winning writer Ann Peacock (A Lesson Before Dying), who recently signed on to adapt the novel for the screenplay. Walden partnered with The C.S. Lewis Company last December to option the entire seven-part fantasy book series The Chronicles of Narnia.

"As we've seen with Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, bringing to the screen a literary fantasy classic, beloved by millions of readers, requires both a reverence for the original material and a rich imagination to create a realistic fictional world," offered Cary Granat, chief executive officer of Walden Media. "Andrew Adamson knows better than anyone how to create magic on-screen and tell a story which touches the heart of an audience. His expertise in visual effects, animation and live action will be critical to a fantasy work of this magnitude."

"Narnia was such a vivid and real world to me as a child, as it is to millions of other fans. I share Walden's excitement in giving those fans an epic theatrical experience worthy of their imaginations, and driving a new generation toward the works of C.S. Lewis," offered Adamson. "Making a film that crosses generations is a far easier task when the source material resonates such themes as truth, loyalty and belief in something greater than yourself."

Adamson achieved overnight acclaim with his first directing job on the DreamWorks animated fantasy Shrek, featuring the vocal talents of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz. The film, which earned $470 million worldwide, was the first to win the new Academy Awards category Best Animated Feature. Adamson previously worked for PDI as visual effects supervisor for Batman and Robin and Batman Forever as well as A Time To Kill, Angels in the Outfield and Double Dragon. He also served as a visual effects artist on James Cameron's action hit True Lies.

Screenwriter Ann Peacock taught law school in South Africa and came to the U.S. in the 90's with her family. At UCLA she took course work in screenwriting and penned her first script, June the 16th, about her son's experience defending the rights of blacks in South Africa, followed by Goodbye Bafana, spotlighting the incarceration of Nelson Mandela and his relationship with his white prison guard of 25 years. Peacock worked with Walden's Joel Stillerman when she was hired to adapt the beloved novel, A Lesson Before Dying, the story of a black man wrongly convicted of murder during the 1940s. The HBO project earned Peacock an Emmy Award and a Humanitas Prize. Her upcoming projects include Country of My Skull, with John Boorman attached to direct and Sam Jackson, Juliette Binoche and Jon Voight to star; On the Ropes for director Brad Silberling; Marines of Autumn for Irwin Winkler; and Star Time, with Joel Schumacher directing Will Smith.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, published in 1950, is the second and best-known novel in the seven-part Chronicles of Narnia series. The Narnia series has sold over 60 million copies and is currently published by HarperCollins. Its author, Clive Staples Lewis, was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1898 and as a child was fascinated by the fairy tales, myths and ancient legends recounted to him by his nurse. The image of a faun carrying parcels and an umbrella in a snowy wood came to him when he was sixteen. Many years later an evil queen and a magnificent lion joined the faun, and their story became The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The book tells the story of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, separated from their parents in London during the German air raids of World War II. They are sent to the country for safety and it is here that they step into the magic wardrobe and discover the mystical world of Narnia. C.S. Lewis, a distinguished professor of English, died in 1963 at his home in Oxford.