A friend of mine wrote to ask if I felt any “outrage” over the kiss that takes place in the newest TV spot for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. In a nutshell, no I don’t, at least not yet; I am willing to wait and see how it fits into the broader film, though I must say the kiss should be deeply awkward for Caspian, at least, since to him Susan is no ordinary girl but, rather, one of the legendary, even mythical, Kings and Queens of Narnia come to life. (Imagine if your favorite hero from centuries past were to suddenly pop into your life — and then kiss you on the lips.) If this film is giving me any seriously bad vibes right now, it is due to the film’s alleged treatment of Peter, rather than Susan, etc.
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ADAMSON, WHO also directed the first two “Shrek” films, wasn’t sure he wanted to return to Narnia, even though the first film was acclaimed by critics, embraced by families and has grossed more than $748 million worldwide. But he looked into the eyes of the then-10-year-old Georgie Henley and changed his mind.
Henley plays Lucy, the youngest of the four Pevensie children who enter Narnia’s timeless world. When Adamson was directing Henley in the first film, she couldn’t cry when he needed her to, after the lion Aslan’s death. Henley had always wept watching “The Lion King,” so Adamson cued its DVD up, but that didn’t work, either. Running out of ideas, the director shared with Henley his doubt that he would direct the next film. The tears finally came.
Months later, with the first film completed, Henley sidled up to the New Zealand-born director. “When you said you weren’t going to do the sequel, were you saying that just to make me cry or because you really didn’t want to do the sequel?” she asked Adamson. “That made me want to do it,” the director says. “When you look into those eyes, you can’t say no.”
Well, I can certainly sympathize with that; Henley is indeed irresistibly endearing, and the franchise’s best asset. But alas, it looks like those of us who concluded that Adamson wasn’t right for this franchise must now hold Henley responsible for the fact that he came back and did not let a better director take the reins.
MAY 11 UPDATE: NarniaWeb reports that, according to Anna Popplewell, who plays Susan, the film was going to feature a fair bit of “flirting” between Susan and Caspian, but the “flirting” has since been “removed from the final cut of the film, so that the kiss was more of an impetuous thing rather than a running theme.”