“The Great Divorce” on the Big Screen?

Variety reports:

Mpower Pictures (“The Stoning of Soraya M.”) and Beloved Pictures are teaming to co-produce C.S. Lewis’ fantasy novel “The Great Divorce.”

Veteran producer and Mpower CEO Steve McEveety will lead the production team. Childrens’ book author N.D. Wilson (“Leepike Ridge,” “100 Cupboards”) is attached to write.

Lewis, who wrote the “Chronicles of Narnia” books and often wove Christian themes into his works, published “The Great Divorce” in 1945. Story centers on a man who learns that the sprawling, dim metropolis where he’s been living is actually Hell; he hops on a bus headed for the outskirts of Elsewhere, only to discover that the one place worse than Hell, for a self-absorbed ad executive, just might be Heaven.

Mpower was created by McEveety in 2007 after he’d been a longtime exec at Mel Gibson’s Icon Prods. He produced “The Passion of the Christ” and “We Were Soldiers” and exec produced “Braveheart” and “What Women Want.” . . .

I asked Scott Nolte, the producing artistic director of Seattle’s Taproot Theatre, what he thought of this. Why Scott? He just wrapped up a successful stage production of the show in Seattle.

Scott says:

It’ll be easiest to visually create the Grey City, Lewis’ purgatory/hell. But Heaven? Will the CGI-created hills, trees and people of Heaven be able to meet our imagination or hopes for something nobody has ever seen? We don’t have anything to compare to it, especially if it’s the un-fallen world. In the Narnia series, we know what a big Lion looks like … and even unicorns and centaurs – they only had to harness technology. So it may be the greater challenge to limit what they do show us of their visual idea of Heaven.

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  • This makes me really nervous. I hope you’re right, TedR.

  • N.D. Wilson is a former acquaintance of mine. If you’ve read his work you know this is cause for excitement. His understanding of C.S Lewis is fantastic and should make for a great script. I can’t wait.

  • I’m intensely curious to see how they pull this one off. It’s, by far, my favorite of Lewis’s books… Which could lead into a broader discussion of: have there ever been reasonably good cinematic depictions of the afterlife? The only one that comes to mind at the moment is that Robin Williams flick (that I haven’t seen for years) called “What Dreams May Come.” I found its depictions un-affecting and underwhelming.