Ralph Winter—producer of the X-Men and Fantastic Four films—is a well-known Christian in Hollywood, and Walden Media has scored one of the biggest box office hits in recent years with their adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, by beloved Christian author C. S. Lewis.I first read about this at Gene Veith's blog and, like him, wonder how well the book can be adapted to film. Based on what Walden did with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, I have no doubt that there will be some spectacular visual effects. But the Narnia tale is a narrative whereas The Screwtape Letters is considerably different.
Now these two forces are joining for another Lewis adaptation—this time, his cherished spiritual warfare novel, The Screwtape Letters. Variety reports that Winter will produce the adaptation in association with Walden Media.
The adaptation—described as a "midbudget," mostly live-action film—is slated for release some time in 2008. The novel, first published in 1942, is written as a series of letters between two demons, the elder Screwtape and his young nephew, Wormwood, with the seasoned demon offering his young protégé advice on undermining Christian faith and spreading wickedness.
Lewis' stepson, Douglas Gresham—who supervised the production of Wardrobe—will be producing alongside Winter.
In order for it to work, I think the film will have to have a lot of narration - perhaps Screwtape giving dictation while images depict young Wormwood carrying out his uncle's instructions. Part of the intrigue of the novel is that what Lewis describes is all going on in the unseen realm as we carry on our daily routines. How can a movie capture this and still hold an audience's attention? Will this be an instance of the medium obscuring the message? I hope not.