Creepy or not (and, yes, we still vote “not”), the upcoming Paddington Bear feature film, simply called Paddington, like he’s Cher or Madonna or another one-named pop star, is now in need of something pretty crucial: someone to voice the traveling Peruvian teddy bear.
Entertainment Weekly reports that star Colin Firth (that would be “the thoroughly British” actor who, at least on paper, sounds like a nice fit for the curious bear with an exceedingly British fashion sense) has left the project, leaving the animated bear without a voice. Okay, now that is actually creepy. Firth, who will be forgiven for referring to the decision to part ways as a “conscious uncoupling” in a statement to the outlet, shares that he’s left the project for a seemingly simple reason — because he’s just not right for the part. Again, Colin Firth is the wrong person to play an animated teddy bear. Noted. Consider his offer to play Pooh in the next (totally fictional and only exists in our minds) Winnie the Pooh outing rescinded.
EW reports that the choice was mutual, sharing Firth’s words on the subject: “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 has also weighed in, saying, “I cannot thank [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.”
Does this mean Firth was too old for the part? Blasphemy! (And, honestly, probably a bit true — Paddington is supposed to be kind of a wide-eyed cub.)
As of now, King has not picked a new actor for the part, but he expects to have one lined up in the next few weeks. Although the movie is reportedly “mostly finished,” this casting change “won’t cause any disruption in the planned release.”
In other news, the film is still set to star Hugh Bonneville, Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters, who would all be pretty hard to take out of the film, if only because none of their performances are animated.
Paddington is still set to hit theaters British theaters on November 28th, with a U.S. release to follow on Christmas Day.