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.

Tolkien and Lewis… friends and rivals?

The Scotsman has a fascinating article on the friendship between two of Britain’s most beloved literary figures.

CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien were the closest of friends, one struggling to make his fantasy world of Middle Earth a literary reality, the other trying to convince friends his first book about Narnia deserved to be published.

But new research has revealed that their friendship was riven by the most bitter and personal of rows on everything from literature to religion and even their choice of spouse.

The fascinating revelations about their real relationship have been made by film-maker Norman Stone while researching a new drama-documentary on the life of Lewis. Stone, who made the award-winning movie about Lewis, Shadowlands, talked to mutual friends of the literary pair as well as examining documents in minute detail.

The drama-documentary is scheduled to air on the Hallmark Channel in the US this December. The BBC is hoping to air it at the same time.