Who Would You Pick to Direct the Narnia Films? Or The Lord of the Rings?

Many recent comments have raised this question.

Please don’t use this thread as a chance to bash Jackson or Adamson. We’ve got enough of that going elsewhere, and frankly, I’m fairly pleased with both directors and I’m tired of focusing on the negatives.

But if both Middle-Earth and Narnia were coming to the big screen AGAIN… who would you pick to direct them? What directors have the right sensibilities to elevate these transcendant works of literature to transcendant works for the screen?

While we’re at it, if you have any creative ideas about re-making OTHER great films with the participation of alternate directors, what would you like to see?

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.

  • Scott Cunningham

    Miyazaki for the win!

  • mike harris stone

    Jean-Pierre Jeunet did a wonderful job with the battle scenes in A Very Long Engagement. I’d love to see his take on LOTR. On a completely different note…if Tom Bombadil was to be in the film, I’d be keen to see what Robin Williams would make of the role.

  • lbrodine

    wow, Cuaron would be a great pick!

    My thought was Shamylan for LOTR, interested to see what he would do at epic length… then again, Jackson has got the battle scenes down unlike any I’ve seen except Ridley Scott, who is too much of a visualist to get around the actual drama (could I pick different directors for different sections?)

    I haven’t seen Narnia yet (just got through exams, so I’m a little behind) so I can’t give an opinion yet, but how about Jean-Pierre Jeunet who did “Amelie” and “City of Lost Children”… too twisted? too French? (Wes Anderson was also a good choice… he’d get the feel perfectly)

  • Nick

    Well, of that list I’ve only seen _Shadowlands_; I own it, like it, as did my wife, as did the cabbie who ran the C.S.Lewis tour in Oxford, who vouches for its authenticity. I’ve not seen the original.

    As for those other projects, Attenborough was not the screenwriter of them–therefore I do not know how strong your case would be if he had a better screenwriter (and in The Grey Owl’s case a better cast). I would think that he brings an Oxford English sensibility that’s unparalleled in today’s cinema.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Oh, heavens, no, not Richard Attenborough. He’s a charming guy and all, but he absolutely lacks the sensitivity required to do a proper adaptation — just compare his version of Shadowlands to the original.

    There is also the problem that has affected every single one of Attenborough’s films for the past decade and more, namely that he has an awfully consistent knack for taking interesting true-life stories and zeroing in on the most banal, cliched, love-story aspects. Just look at Chaplin, Shadowlands, In Love and War, Grey Owl, etc. I worry that he’d find a way to go all mushy with the Narnia stories, too.

  • Anonymous

    In hindsight, in both cases, I’d just call in bomb threats until the project was cancelled.

  • Nick

    I also thought of Cuaron.

    But how about Dave McKean? The visuals I’ve seen from “MirrorMask” are simply incredible, and may be the closest I’ve seen in bringing out a magical world. (Haven’t seen the film, and I don’t know if MirrorMask is a good film, tho).

    Sad to say, I would have wanted Jim Henson to attempt this as well.

    I also wouldn’t have been opposed to having Richard Attenborough giving it at try. Filming _Shadowlands_ and being familiar with Doug Gresham gives him a sensibility to the material that most directors do not have.

  • The Derelict

    Mike! Great pick for Cuaron, I’ve just finished reading The Magician’s Nephew for the hundredth time and I immediately thought of him to direct it.

    For LOTR, I’m convinced PJ was the man for the job. Now, for the Silmarillion. . . either John Boorman or Terence Malick.

  • opus

    Methinks we need someone along the lines of a Hayao Miyazaki.

  • Mike Harris-Stone

    Narnia — Alfonso Cuaron

    LOTR — Kurosawa. I’d love to have seen what a blend of half Peter Jackson/half Tarkovsky would do with it. Is blending directors allowed?

  • Calvin Coltrane

    I change my answer to Joss Whedon for both films. Serenity is possibly the most underrated cinematic pearl of all time.

  • Calvin Coltrane

    Narnia – M. Night Shyamlan or Wes Anderson

    LOTR – David Fincher or Bryan Singer

    Star Wars – Quinten Tarrantino

    The Matrix – Darren Aranofsky


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