Actor Ben Whishaw has replaced Colin Firth as the voice in the upcoming film version of kids' TV show Paddington. Oscar winner Firth announced he was quitting the project last month (Jun14), and now producers have chosen Skyfall star Whishaw to take his place as the voice to the beloved bear.
Director Paul King tells the U.K.'s Daily Mail that Whishaw is the perfect replacement for Firth, saying, "He breathes and he speaks and he sounds like Paddington, rather than the most beautiful chocolate-voiced man (Firth) on the planet
Paddington, which also stars Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters and Peter Capaldi, is scheduled to hit U.K. cinemas in November (14) and arrive in the U.S. on Christmas Day (25Dec14).
Walt Disney Co.
According to the House of Mouse, everything is fair game for the remake treatment. With the hugely successful Maleficent just about wrapping up a spellbinding run at the box office, Disney has set its sights on their next live-action remake: Dumbo, the 1941 classic about a baby elephant that miraculously learns to fly thanks to his jumbo-sized ears, is getting remade into a live-action film. Transformers scribe Ehren Kruger is penning the script, and the film will feature an additional human story that will mirror Dumbo's journey in the film. Given the nature of the story, Dumbo will be a tricky film to update for a modern audiences, and some might argue that the flying elephant is better off left in the past. Here are our reasons for and against a Dumbo remake.
WHY IT WILL WORK
It's a good story: Dumbo, at it's purest, is a simple and uplifting parable about being yourself in the face of adversity and letting your freak flag fly. It's a pretty universal story and there's no reason it couldn't work for today's audiences. In a time of revisionist fairy tales and live-action perspective twists, maybe sticking with the bare bones classic narrative would be the best way to handle a Dumbo remake.
The songs are great: We dare you not to cry while a locked up Ms. Jumbo sings "Baby Mine" while cradling Dumbo. It's impossible.
It's in serious need of an update: As well meaning as it was at the time of release, Dumbo is racked with problems, and the story is in need of a fresh coat of paint. The crow characters are obviously the biggest issue to contend with. At best, they're slightly insensitive racial stereotype, and at worst well... Let's just say the leader of the flock is named "Jim Crow" and leave it at that. Besides the film's troubling racial depictions, there are other issues. 1941 was a very different time and place, and having your two main characters getting hammered and going on a bad trip featuring hallucinatory pink elephants probably wouldn't fly with parents in 2014.
Many kids haven't seen the original: Disney fandom is such a generational thing, and the kids that are currently torturing their parents with yet another spirited rendition of "Let It Go" probably haven't seen, or might not even be aware with Disney's golden age of animation. Recreating Dumbo for a new audience will likely introduce the character to a new generation of fans.
WHY IT WON'T
It's controversial: As stated earlier, Dumbo has its fair share of controversy, which is why it's slightly baffling that Disney chose to remake this particular film out of its extensive back log of animated classics. If included at all, the crow characters would need some serious retooling, and we could easily see them being removed altogether. But removal of characters and elements from the classic film would likely draw ire from Disney purists. It's sort of a lose-lose situation.
It's too simple: The original Dumbo clocks in at only about 60 minutes, which is barely a feature length film, and pales in comparison to recent Disney efforts like Maleficent (97 minutes) and Frozen (105 minutes). Stretching another 30 minutes out of a 60-minute story would just make a crappier film. They'd likely need to add additional plot lines, which of course leads to...
The added human story: The original Dumbo feels unique in the way that it focuses almost solely on the circus animals while leaving the human characters, who are often portrayed as cruel and self-serving, in the background. Creating a human family as a side plot seems like an idea that goes against what makes the original film special in the first place. We can't help but think that everything involving the new human characters will feel superfluous. Dumbo is a story about a baby elephant and his mouse friend, not a boy and his pachyderm.
Too many CGI animals: After the first trailer for the live-action Paddington Bear movie turned a formerly lovable anthropomorphic character into the stuff of nightmares, Disney has to be pretty cautious with the new version of Dumbo. Between Dumbo himself, Timothy Q. Mouse, the crows, and all of the other elephant characters, there's going to be a ton of CG animals running around, and the effects would need to be impeccable for all of those digital characters to look convincing in a live-action setting.
The Weinstein Company
Oscar winner Colin Firth has quit the film version of kids' TV show Paddington.
Weeks after the first trailer for the film was released, Firth, who was to voice the project's namesake bear, has announced he will no longer be a part of the film. Poking fun at Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's recent split announcement, the Brit tells EW.com, "After a period of denial, we've chosen 'conscious uncoupling'."
He adds, "It's been bittersweet to see this delightful creature take shape and come to the sad realisation 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."
The setback will not impact on the movie's release date - it is still scheduled to hit U.K. cinemas in November (14) and it will hit the big screen in the U.S. on Christmas Day (25Dec14).
Director Paul King, who is confident he'll be able to announce Firth's replacement in the coming weeks, says, "I cannot thank him (Firth) enough for his contribution to Paddington. 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."
Beloved children's author Michael Bond has resurrected his most famous character Paddington Bear for a new book. Love From Paddington, which features letters the literary bear sent to his Aunt Lucy in Peru, will be published in November (14) by Harper Collins to coincide with the release of a new Paddington movie, featuring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.
Bond first wrote about the lost bear in 1958 in A Bear Called Paddington.
Nicole Kidman had to dial down her knife-throwing tricks on the set of new movie Paddington Bear because she was terrifying kids on the set. The Moulin Rouge! star took lessons to perfect her skills for a scene in the film - but she took things a little too far.
She explains, "They had to bring that down because it was too scary for the kids.
"I get very intense and I learn it properly... and they (producers) were like, 'This is way too much for a kids' movie', but I can twirl a knife now."
The jig, she is up.
Celebrities are now disturbingly savvy to what fans are getting up to on the internet. The more mainstream fandom culture becomes, the greater the chances are that actors in fandom-bait shows and movies will come into contact with fan fiction, fan art, and, of course, "shipping."
"Shipping," for those not active on the Supernatural Tumblr tag, is taken from the word "relationship" and refers to fans attempting to get two (or more, why not?) characters together through sheer force of will. How do celebrities feel when they find out how, um, passionate their devotees are about their characters romantic destinies? Here are five case studies.
Benedict thinks it's "cool."
There's no shortage of well-read Sherlock superfans, so it isn't surprising that Benedict Cumberbatch told MTV that he's "impressed" with the quality of the work inspired by the show and by the ambiguous friendship between Holmes and Watson.
Inglourious and In flagrante delicto.
Oh No They Didn't caught Inglourious Basterds star Eli Roth tweeting to director Quentin Tarantino about some NC-17-rated writing about his characters. He even gave internet writers a heads up before he did so, so they could add their work to the pile.
Love for Klaine fans
Glee star Chris Colfer is so flattered by the attention his character Kurt receives in fan fic that he shouted out the amateur writers on stage when he accepted his People's Choice Award this year.
Andy Cohen has to make it awkward.
During their appearances on Watch What Happens Live, Andy had Daniel Radcliffe and Ralph Fiennes perform dramatic readings of some Harry/Ron and, gulp, Harry/Voldemort romantic interludes. Points to both Harry Potter stars for doing so with a maximum of gusto and a minimum of embarrassment.
Mark Ruffalo supports "Science Bros"!
But perhaps the most satisfying "ship" reaction of them all was Mark Ruffalo's response to "Science Bros," the deceptively innocent nickname for the perceived attraction between Bruce Banner and Tony Stark. Ruffalo told Vulture that it was "awesome," "cute," and that he "endorses it 100%." And the fangirls and boys go wild.
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In a spectacular combination of all that is British and bumbling, Colin Firth will soon be voicing the computer-generated Paddington Bear. The movie, based on the children's book, will be directed by Paul King, known primarily for The Mighty Boosh, and produced by David Heyman, known for producing that mightiest of children's stories that is Harry Potter.
For those unfamiliar with the kids' stories, they are an adorably illustrated series written by Michael Bond about a Peruvian bear who gets adopted by a British family ("I will speak his lines with, I suspect, a slight Peruvian flavour," Firth told The Daily Mail.) The bear keeps emergency marmalade sandwiches under his floppy yellow hat and is very proper and British. He will also be the only animated character (and let's hope that he doesn't turn out creepy); so far Nicole Kidman, Jim Broadbent, and Hugh Bonneville have signed on for live-action rolls. Firth and Kidman recently worked together on the World War II retribution flick The Railway Man, but we get the feeling that this is going to have a different vibe. It will be released sometime in 2014, so be prepared to overdose on adorable.
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British actor Colin Firth is to show off his softer side by playing beloved British children's character Paddington Bear in a new film. The King's Speech star will give voice to the cuddly character in a new movie based on the books by English author Michael Bond, about a bear from Peru who is adopted by a family who find him lost and alone at the London railway station which gave him his name.
Firth will reunite with his The Railway Man co-star Nicole Kidman, who plays the movie's villain, and Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville as head of the family which adopts Paddington.
He tells Britain's Daily Mail, "Paddington will be computer generated, and I will speak his lines with, I suspect, a slight Peruvian flavour. Every other character in the film will be real, live, human beings. But the idea is that Paddington will have something of me in his DNA because I'm going to do some sessions wearing one of those helmets with cameras to capture my face muscles, and all that data will somehow be incorporated into Paddington. Then they'll use motion- capture equipment on someone more bear-size than me to do all the full body, bear stuff."
Firth's co-star Kidman insists she was thrilled to have been offered the chance to make a film about the famous bear as she has been a fan of the stories since childhood, adding, "I just had to do the bear film. My agent called and said: 'We've got this offer from London for you to be in a film about a Paddington Bear.' And I said: 'You mean the Paddington Bear?' I was read the stories when I was little and I grew up with Paddington. I know all about his adventures and what mischief he got up to."
Filming will kick off in London in the autumn (13).
You can argue that regression has been the dominant ideology of Hollywood cinema for the past 30 years: the return to playthings of childhood once set sternly in adulthood. For Baby Boomers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, that meant revisiting the movie serials of their '50s upbringing, and the result was the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies in the '70s and '80s. More recently, filmmakers have crafted movies out of comic books, video games, and even toys and board games. (We're looking at you, Battleship!) Since the child is the father of the man, it can be really hard to let go of the things we loved in our youth. And the next big artifact from our collective childhoods to become an unstoppably plush big-screen trend? Teddy bears.
You heard that right. Dwayne Johnson has just been cast to star in a movie tentatively titled Teddy Bear. It's inspired by this drawing from software engineer and concept artist Alex Panagopoulos that shows a pint-size teddy defending a sleeping child from a toothy monster that's sprung up from under her bed. The caption says “Teddy Bears: Protecting Innocent Children from Monsters Under the Bed Since 1902." (1902 was the year the teddy bear was invented.) Just like that, a movie concept is born. But New Line Cinema and FlynnPictureCo, the production companies developing the project, would not have been so eager to pounce on a teddy bear vehicle if it had not been for the wicked pissah $500 million worldwide gross of last summer's Ted, the Seth MacFarlane comedy about a foul-mouthed teddy who's accompanied his child companion well into adulthood (Mark Wahlberg). Ted was practically an allegory for regression.
The success of MacFarlane's film also shows just how elastic teddy bears are in terms of storytelling possibility. While Ted was a hard-R raunchfest, Johnson's Teddy Bear will likely be a kids' fantasy epic. Actually, their narrative potential for audiences beyond the nursery set was already explored with the first great teddy bear of 21st Century cinema: the automaton Teddy from 2001's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, which presented a robot boy's (Haley Joel Osment) stuffed animal companion as a walking, talking, and thoroughly dour sage. Kind of a fleece Jiminy Cricket to Osment's Pinocchio, an invaluable guide through a future dystopia. In 2010's Toy Story 3, the teddy Lotso (Ned Beatty) smelled like strawberries but proved the villain of the piece. A year later, Walt Disney Animation Studios relaunched one of their most lucrative properties, Winnie the Pooh, for a more gentle big-screen treatment, Piglet's Big Movie. And, looking forward, StudioCanal and Harry Potter's HeyDay Films are developing a live-action version of British kid-lit icon, Paddington Bear for 2014, about a cuddly, though possibly homeless, teddy who spends all his time loitering at London train stations.
Think of this as a kind of security-blanket cinema for not only kids, but kids who've already grown up and really don't want to.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter@Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: Wenn; Universal; Walt Disney Pictures(2); Warner Bros Pictures(2)]
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When his Aunt Lucy, a bear, retires and goes to the home for retired bears in Lima, Peru, her nephew stows away on a ship bound for England. He is adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Brown, a couple who find the bear and name him Paddington, after the train station in which they find him. The series depicts Paddington's adventures as he learns about various aspects of life.