New York, NY (July 31, 2002) – Walden Media has engaged highly acclaimed director Andrew Adamson, the visionary behind last year’s box office smash and Academy-Award winner “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, of which The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is best-known.
“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, alongside a raft of other international awards and nominations. 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.”
Peacock’s adaptation of the beloved novel “A Lesson Before Dying,” the story of a black man wrongly convicted of murder during the 1940s, earned her an Emmy Award (Outstanding Writing for A Miniseries Or Movie) 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 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 sold over 60 million copies and is currently published by HarperCollins. Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1898. As a child he 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, separated from their parents in London during the German Air Raids of World War 2. 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.
About Walden Media
Founded by Cary Granat, former president of Miramax Films’ Dimension label, and leading executives in the education field, Walden Media creates films, television shows, books and interactive media that inspire, engage, enlighten and entertain. Walden believes that quality entertainment is inherently educational and can capture the audience’s imagination, rekindle curiosity and demonstrate the rewards of learning.
Walden selects each production for its educational merit. Film and television projects include compelling interpretations of favorite works of literature, lively retellings of historical events, adaptations of contemporary novels popular in schools, giant screen extravaganzas and documentaries. Walden Media partners with educational experts, world-class museums and schools to support each project with a comprehensive learning outreach program including the creation of companion lessons, books and websites.
Walden Media is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Anschutz Company. The Denver-based company is one of the largest privately owned and operated ventures in the U.S. Its affiliated companies are principally engaged in telecommunications and media, natural resources, transportation, real estate, sports and entertainment.