Consider this the rumor to end all rumors. In what can only be seen as an unprecedented move by any company, 20th Century Fox and Walden Media has not only greenlit one, but all four Narnia movies to be shot at the same time by a team of directors. The goal is to top the number of films shot at one time, set by Peter Jackson with The Lord of the Rings.
On the short list for this massive undertaking of productions are the following directors: Brett Ratner, Matthew Vaughn (fresh off of X-Men: First Class), Darren Aronofsky (having recently dropped The Wolverine), Michael Bay (after he finishes up Transformers: Dark of the Moon), Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) and the late John Hughes. Mysteriously missing from the list are directors Andrew Adamson and Michael Apted. Other directors that have been mentioned are M. Night Shyamalan, who is busy working on a film with Jaden Smith, Billy Bob Thornton, and Tim Burton.
I’ve also heard that Mel Gibson was interested in tackling The Magician’s Nephew, but would only commit to the project if he could film using the original languages of Charn and Narnia (which would need to be developed for the film). This is in line with how he made both The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto. It would be interesting to see how that would work, as the Narnians clearly spoke English, particularly due to their English speaking King and Queen.
Michael Bay’s involvement would be limited to The Last Battle, for which he plans on assembling the creative team from Armageddon. No word on if he plans to have Shia LeBeouf play Shift or Tirian.
The producers will draw straws on a daily basis to decide which set they will attend each day of filming. Writers that are working on the four scripts are also pooling resources. The writing team consists of comedian Dave Barry, Judd Apatow, Craig Titley (who is fresh off of Percy Jackson) and the screenwriter from Eragon: Peter Buchman.
Filming is expected to start around January of 2012, after all four screenplays are locked, and take until August. The first will release on April 1, 2013, two years from today, which happens to be April Fools Day.