Walden Media to Produce Narnia Film

Posted on December 7, 2001

Walden Media has partnered with The C.S. Lewis Company to produce the first live-action feature adaptation of the bestselling children's classic The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Walden has optioned the seven-part fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia, and intends to develop it into a franchise. The project will be overseen by Douglas Gresham, stepson of C.S. Lewis, and Walden Media's Joel Stillerman, executive vice president of film & television, and Perry Moore, vice president of production and development.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, published in 1950, is the second and best-known novel in the seven-part Narnia series, which also includes The Magician's Nephew, The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair and The Last Battle. The Chronicles of Narnia series has established itself as a worldwide brand and is currently published by HarperCollins. As a child, born in Belfast, Ireland in 1898, Clive Staples Lewis was fascinated by the fairy tales, myths and ancient legends recounted to him by his Irish 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, who step through a magic wardrobe into Narnia, once the peaceful land of Talking Beasts, Dwarfs, Giants and Fauns, but now frozen into winter by the evil White Witch. Other Chronicles of Narnia followed and the final title, The Last Battle, was awarded the UK's prestigious Carnegie Award. Lewis, who was also distinguished as a professor at Oxford and Cambridge, died on November 22, 1963.

Stated Gresham, ``It has been our dream for many years not simply to make a live-action version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, but to do so while remaining faithful to the novel. We are delighted to make this film with Walden Media, which we are confident will create the adaptation that my stepfather would have wanted.''

Walden Media is a multimedia entertainment company led by Cary Granat, former president of Miramax Films' Dimension label and executive at Universal Pictures. The New York-based venture, launched in May 2001, focuses on educational subject matter presented through the mediums of film, television, publishing, music and media ventures. Walden Media is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Anschutz Company. The Denver-based company is a privately owned and operated venture in the U.S.