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The Film's Design
The world of Narnia has, up until now, existed only in the imaginations of millions of readers. With his characters cast, director Adamson was faced with the massive, daunting task of bringing Narnia's geographic world—from its wooded coves, magical lampposts and beaver lodges to the iced-over castle at Cair Paravel—to palpable life so that one could believe with all their senses that they truly exist.

Before hammer was ever put to nail, before paint was put to brush, before saw was put to wood, Adamson pre-visualized more than half of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE inside a computer. With this tremendous advantage, and armed with his intimate knowledge of Narnian history and lore, next began the physical work of creating Narnia's famous locales as life-sized sets. Adamson sought out two unique talents to bring the physical reality of Narnia alive. He says: "I couldn't have done it without production designer Roger Ford, who created magnificent sets that exceeded everyone's expectations, and D.P. Don McAlpine, who did a wonderful job lighting the world of Narnia.”

In early conversations with production designer Ford, Adamson explained his concept for the look of the film, which he hoped would match what he had seen in his mind's eye as a child—an incredibly real and unsparing vision of a bleak WWII London turning into a doomed, wintry, fantastical Narnia and then, ultimately, into an incredible burst of lush, magic-filled spring full of renewed life and hope. Ford knew that trying to capture the sheer inventiveness and wonderment of a child's imagination would be a huge challenge. "I think the most difficult thing about creating a film that is also for children is that you have got to surprise them,” he says. "You've actually got to go further than their imagination goes, which is not an easy thing. At the same time, it's a dream project for a designer.”

THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE marked the second collaboration between Ford and Don McAlpine, who shot Ford's sets on P.J. Hogan's 2003 fantasy film, "Peter Pan.” But this film was like nothing they had done before. McAlpine's creativity was pushed to new edges as he tried to shoot a world covered in a glacial sheen of ice. "It was a series of experiments, and something totally new to me,” the director of photography remarks. "Ultimately, I think it's something totally original that we tried. Ice has always been a problem in films. They've tried it in many movies, 'Vertical Limit' being one, but I think we took it one step closer to reality and created something that will be very visually exciting.”

The Oscar®-nominated Ford ("Babe”), a veteran designer whose career dates back to the cult favorite "Dr. Who,” designed and constructed almost three dozen set pieces for the production—many of them influenced by the original pen-and-ink drawings created for C.S. Lewis' 1950 novel by illustrator Pauline Baynes. Collaborating closely with one of the industry's finest art directors, Australian native Ian Gracie ("Moulin Rouge,” "Star Wars: Episode III”), Ford recruited a team of 30 for his art department and a construction crew surpassing 300 carpenters, painters and other craftsmen, the largest the designer had ever assembled in his 40-year career.

At New Zealand's decommissioned Hobsonville Airbase, the designers transformed old airplane and helicopter hangars into sound stages that harbored such spectacular sets as the Stone Table, where Aslan appears to have been defeated; the White Witch's magnificent courtyard of creatures turned to stone; the bustling London train station, patterned after famous Paddington station, where the four Pevensie children are evacuated during the London blitzkrieg; and Cair Paravel, the great Narnian castle.

The design team also utilized Kelly Park, an old equestrian center north of Auck

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