A new film depicting The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe author C.S. Lewis’ incredible journey from atheism to Christianity is set to release later this year.
Directed by Lewis expert Norman Stone, the drama is titled “The Most Reluctant Convert” and is adapted from the one-man stage play starring Max McLean, according to The Guardian.
Lewis, who is widely recognized as one of the most influential Christian authors of the 20th century, will be portrayed in three stages of life, wandering through his own memories as an older man. It will follow the childhood loss of his mother to cancer, his horrific experience in the trenches of World War I, and the death of his wife.
Nicholas Ralph portrays Lewis in his 20s and Tom Glenister appears as his friend and fellow author, JRR Tolkien. The film was shot in and around Oxford, where Lewis was a tutor in English literature; at his college, Magdalen, and his home, The Kilns, where he wrote his Narnia books.
Stone, who previously won a BAFTA Award for directing "Shadowlands," a drama about the life and love of the Mere Christianity author, said he believes it’s the perfect time to bring Lewis’ story to the big screen.
“Lewis looked truth in the eye, no matter what effect that would have,” he told The Guardian. “That comes across in his writing and it’s one of the key things that made him popular. At certain times, society says ‘think a little deeper.’ When you get something like Covid-19, then we should be thinking a bit more about things, and I think that’s happening.”
Though Lewis, who died in 1963, is known as a great Christian thinker, Stone said his work appeals to everyone, noting that one Narnia fan site alone has 6 million followers: “He’s sold more books this year than last year. I think it’s something to do with everything else that’s going on in the world.”
McLean said Lewis went from “vigorous debunker of religion to the most respected Christian writer apologist of the 20th century” and that the questions he explored are complex.
“But the words that we use are Lewis.' We have the rights. That helps because we’re not as smart as he is. One of the great things about playing this role is it’s fun to be this smart for 90 minutes, to be able to say these words, and really embody them.”
The film’s producers told the outlet they hope to release "The Most Reluctant Convert" later this year.
Over the years, Lewis’ fiction writings have been turned into numerous family-friendly film and TV projects.
Previous film adaptations of Lewis’ books include a 1988 BBC version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and three movies produced by Sony Pictures: "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" (2005), "Prince Caspian" (2008), and "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" (2010), grossing more than $1.5 billion worldwide.