C. S. Lewis and his theology; Narnia and its impact on writers, on believers; the movies and the ways they diverged from the books. All of it is interesting to speculative writers, and in particular to Christian speculative writers. But all of it seems to pale in importance compared to the news I heard this weekend.
The co-producer of the three Narnia movies, Perry Moore, was found dead in his apartment last Thursday. Some news agencies reported that suicide is suspected — he apparently died of an overdose of pain killers.
Honestly, I’d never heard of Perry Moore before, but now I’m learning a few facts about him. For one, he was gay. In 2007 he published a YA novel, Hero, about a gay teen superhero. And before he got involved in the film industry, he interned in the White House for Bill Clinton. He also received
the distinc … uh, the privil … let’s say, notoriety in one of People Magazines’s Sexiest Man of the Week spots. One more item. Reportedly he suffered from near debilitating back pain. Hence a prescription for OxyContin, the drug that apparently killed him. Oh yes, Mr. Moore was 39.
All this leaves me incredibly sad — his death, his lifestyle, his apparent worldview.
I believe in the power of story. God can and does move in our hearts through stories. Yet here was a man who had a passion to make the Narnia books into movies while he himself, it would seem, did not apprehend the truth they reveal.
Not that I know the man’s heart. One site, GayNZ, called him a “proud Christian.” But that makes me sad, too.
Was he as proud of being a Christian as of being gay? Then why not a novel featuring a Christian superhero? And if he was a Christian, proud or otherwise, why not a mention of his faith somewhere at his website?
He did say this about the books C. S. Lewis wrote: “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was my absolute favorite book as a kid. It is to this day what inspires me to write.”
So he loved the story about sacrifice and redemption and forgiveness, but did he understand it? It breaks my heart to think that he could have been so close to a story filled with Truth and very well may not have seen it.
But that, I suspect, is something we writers must face. Not everyone is going to understand what we write, and not everyone touched by our stories will respond as we hope. I understand this but can’t help but be sad.
Narnia points to a reality Mr. Moore apparently longed for, but unless he did indeed apprehend Christ, not Aslan, as the One who made the sacrifice and who offered him, not the imaginary Edmund, forgiveness and new life, then he will never enjoy the reality “Aslan’s country” or Narnia, further up and in, points to.