CS Lewis “absolutely opposed” to live-action films

A letter by CS Lewis has emerged indicating that the author of the Narnia books was “absolutely opposed” to live-action adaptations of his works.

In the letter, dated December 18 1959, Lewis made clear he approved of the radio version of the book produced by Lance Sieveking, a pioneering BBC radio and television producer. But in letters written shortly before the death of his wife, Joy, Lewis also said he was “absolutely opposed – adamant isn’t in it! – to a TV version” of any of the books. “Anthropomorphic animals, when taken out of narrative into actual visibility, always turn into buffoonery or nightmare. At least, with photography,” he wrote.

A cartoon version would be “another matter”, he said. But Lewis, who died in 1963, added: “If only Disney did not combine so much vulgarity with his genius.” In conclusion, he said that “a human, pantomime Aslan would to me be blasphemy”.

It’s sad Lewis won’t be here to see it. Perhaps he’d have changed his mind.

2 Replies to “CS Lewis “absolutely opposed” to live-action films”

  1. Considering the state of film around that time, I can’t say that I blame him. A live action Narnia in the late ’50s would have been incredibly bad.

    I mean, look at the mini-series from the late ’80s. I quite liked it, but the effects? Not so much.

  2. Imagine Aslan as the lion from Wizard of Oz… Yeah, I can see why he’d be against it. This was well before the modern age of special effects. Maybe if he’d lived long enough to see some of the more serious stuff that the Hensons did (like Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal) he’d have been more open to an adaption.

    I loved the live-action version they did in the 80’s. But I had to watch the ’79 cartoon version a few years back and it sucked: the animation style didn’t fit Narnia at all.

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