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Neeson replaced Cox as 'Narnia' lion

  |   April 8, 2006 at 10:06 PM
NEW YORK, April 8 (UPI) -- Brian Cox, not Liam Neeson, was the actor initially hired to voice Aslan in "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe."

Aslan is the animated, savior-like lion in the live-action/computer animated film based on C.S. Lewis' classic children's tale.

"We thought (Cox) would have been great and then we put(his voice)with the lion itself and we couldn't reconcile it. We couldn't make it work," said Mark Johnson, producer of the blockbuster film, now on DVD.

Johnson said the "Troy" and "Adaptation" actor was terrific to work with, but "just didn't sound right."

"He didn't have the strength and the kindness and understanding (in his voice,)" Johnson noted. Luckily, Neeson, star of "Kinsey" and "Schindler's List," could convey those qualities vocally.

"It was an interesting and challenging character to cast," said director Andrew Adamson. "To create an omnipotent being that was still accessible, so you felt the vulnerability of when he dies."

When Neeson pursued the role, the filmmakers were happy to hear his take on it.

"Even on the phone, there was this resonance, but mainly this warmth, that was really ideal for the character," Adamson said.

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