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Newsbites: The children's literature edition!

1. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader began principal photography yesterday ... and it sounds like the filmmakers may once again be adding more unnecessary peril and more gratuitous World War II footage to C.S. Lewis's story. The film's press release suggests that King Caspian and the others are embarking on their "entirely uncharted journey to Aslan's Country" in order to "save Narnia, and all the astonishing creatures in it, from an unfathomable fate." And last month, a casting agency was looking for actors to play English soldiers and nurses bidding farewell to each other. Somehow these bits don't jibe with my memory of the book.

Many other little facts about the film have been collected and collated by the indefatigable fans at NarniaWeb.com, such as: cinematographer Dante Spinotti plans to use the same digital camera on this film that he used on Michael Mann's Public Enemies; the Dufflepuds may be CGI; and the new cast members will include Bruce Spence as Lord Rhoop. Spence has had small parts in a number of threequels, including The Matrix Revolutions (2003), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005), but he may be best-known among genre buffs for his parts in the last two Mad Max movies (1981-1985).

2. Paramount is developing a new film version of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, the Robert C. O'Brien novel that was previously turned by Don Bluth into an animated film called The Secret of NIMH (1982). Neil Burger, director of The Illusionist (2006), is working on the script, and former Walden Media executive Cary Granat is on board to produce. It has been suggested that the new film may be getting the go-ahead because of the popularity of recent rodent movies such as Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007) and G-Force, the latter of which was #1 in the United States this past weekend (though only #3 in Canada). – Hollywood Reporter

3. Harry Potter director David Yates says the two halves of Deathly Hallows will be very different from one another. The first film "is very verit̩ and documentary and edgy and on the road," and it will feature "a lot of hand-held camera work," while the second film will "bring that fantasy world back in full Cinemascope" and be "a big opera basically, a great big epic with huge battles and very oddly moving, because it concludes the whole saga really. So they're two very different films." Oh, and Bill Nighy Рone of my favorite actors Рwill be playing Rufus Scrimgeour, the new Minister of Magic. РComingSoon.net, Vanity Fair, BBC News

4. Framelight Productions is developing a film series based on Ian Beck's The Secret History of Tom Truehart and its sequels. The fantasy novels concern "a young boy and his older brothers in the Land of Stories." – Hollywood Reporter

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