MOVIE REVIEW: Award-winning creator of ‘Barbie’ gears up to adapt beloved ‘Narnia’ series for Netflix

01 Feb 2024

By Contributor

This is the book cover of “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis. Renowned filmmaker Greta Gerwig is gearing up for her next major project — the adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ beloved children’s series, for Netflix. Image: OSV News illustration/Pauline Baynes.

By Our Sunday Visitor Staff

Renowned filmmaker Greta Gerwig, fresh off the success of her record-breaking box office hit Barbie, is gearing up for her next major project — the adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ beloved children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia, for Netflix.

Despite her recent accolades, including the Golden Globes’ inaugural Cinematic and Box Office Achievement award for Barbie, Gerwig admits to feeling a sense of terror at the prospect of bringing the cherished Narnia series to life.

In a recent interview with BBC Radio 4, Gerwig expressed her deep reverence for the Narnia series, a sentiment rooted in her childhood love for the books and admiration for C.S. Lewis as a writer and thinker.

“I’m slightly in the place of terror because I really do have such reverence for Narnia,” she said. “I loved Narnia so much as a child. As an adult, C.S. Lewis is a thinker and a writer. I’m intimidated by doing this. It’s something that feels like a worthy thing to be intimidated by.”

She also acknowledged the pressure of adapting such iconic British literature as an American director, comparing it to the challenges faced by Americans performing Shakespeare.

Georgie Henley is pictured with a lion named Aslan, voiced by Catholic actor Liam Neeson, in the 2010 movie “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” Photo: OSV News/Fox.

This isn’t Gerwig’s first foray into adapting beloved childhood literature. Her critically acclaimed adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women garnered six Academy Award nominations, including Best Adapted Screenplay, showcasing her adeptness at bringing classic stories to the modern screen.

Scott Stuber, chairman of Netflix Film, praised Gerwig’s talent and her Christian background in a recent interview with Variety, which he believes will bring a unique perspective to the deeply Christian themes in Lewis’ work.

“(Gerwig) grew up in a Christian background,” Stuber said.

“The C.S. Lewis books are very much based in Christianity. And so we just started talking about it. … When we had the opportunity (to license) those books or the (Roald Dahl Co.) we jumped at it, to have stories that people recognise and the ability to tell those stories. So, it was just a great opportunity, and I’m so thrilled that she’s working on it with us. And I’m just thrilled to be in business with her. And she’s just an incredible talent.”

With filming set to begin later this year, Gerwig’s adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia is highly anticipated. Fans of the series and Gerwig’s work alike are eager to see how she will tackle the task of bringing the magical world of Narnia to life, balancing reverence for the original material with her own creative vision.