Late last week, we showed you the first trailer for the upcoming family adventure Paddington; however, the next time you see the lovable little bear there will be something quite different about him.
Throughout the development of the film, it was British actor Colin Firth that was lending his voice talents to the film and breathing life into the little brown bear.
Unfortunately, the news is coming across today that Firth has officially stepped away from the project and will no longer be providing the voice of the popular bear.
According to a statement the actor gave to Entertainment Weekly, there is no ill will here and that the split was amicable on both sides of the spectrum.
“After a period of denial, we’ve chosen ‘conscious uncoupling,’” Firth told EW. “It’s been bittersweet to see this delightful creature take shape and come to the sad realization that he simply doesn’t have my voice. I’ve had the joy of seeing most of the film and it’s going to be quite wonderful. I still feel rather protective of this bear and I’m pestering them all with suggestions for finding a voice worthy of him.”
Director Paul King released a statement on the issue that seemed to mirror Firth’s assertions that the split was a mutual and an amicable one.
“I cannot thank [Firth] enough for his contribution to Paddington,” EW reports. “We love the voice and we love the bear, but as our young bear came into being we agreed that the two didn’t seem to fit. So, with somewhat heavy hearts we decided to part ways.”
While it is not an entirely new thing for a voice actor to depart a film at some stage in the production; it is a little odd for someone to depart the project this late in the game.
At this point and time, The Weinstein Company, who is distributing the film in the U.S., still plans to have the film in theaters on Christmas Day.
King has not yet selected a replacement for Firth; however, he promises that one will be announced in the next few weeks.
I must say that I am slightly disappointed to hear about Firth’s departure. When I first heard of his connection to the film I was happy because I felt like his calm and tender voice would be a perfect fit for the little brown bear. I guess the filmmakers had a different vision for the film.
Maybe this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If both sides came to the same conclusion, then there must be something there. For the time being, we’ll put our faith in the filmmakers and believe that they know what is best for their creation.
Hopefully, we will get an update soon on who King has in mind to take over for Firth.
Paddington is just the second feature-length venture from the director. King’s directing experience lies mainly in the television market with shows such as Dog Face and The Mighty Boosh.
King also wrote the screenplay for the film, which is of course based off of the characters from the children’s book series by author Michael Bond.
The film stars quite a number of incredibly talented actors and actresses like Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins, Doctor Who actor Peter Capaldi, Hugh Bonneville, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Matt Lucas, and many more.
Paddington is scheduled to be released on December 25, 2014.