Michael Bond and Peggy Fortnum's beloved stuffed bear known as Paddington, the star of over a dozen children's books, may still be hitting movie theaters this holiday season, but his voice will probably sound different than planned as it's being reported that Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth has decided to step down from the role.
Although voice actors have been replaced late in production before, the movie has mostly been finished and one expects that replacing the voice for a key role will add considerable more time to the film's preproduction.
Firth told EW, "After a period of denial, weíve chosen Ďconscious uncoupling.' Itís been bittersweet to see this delightful creature take shape and come to the sad realization that he simply doesnít have my voice. Iíve had the joy of seeing most of the film and itís going to be quite wonderful. I still feel rather protective of this bear and Iím pestering them all with suggestions for finding a voice worthy of him."
The film's director Paul King ("The Mighty Boosh") has yet to select someone to replace Firth as the voice of Paddington but has said that the split was amicable. "I cannot thank him 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 didnít seem to fit. So, with somewhat heavy hearts we decided to part ways.Ē
It's interesting to note that the first trailer for the movie, released just last week, barely has Paddington talking, instead making grunts and other noises, although they're clearly coming from Firth's voice.
Paddington is still scheduled for release in North America on Christmas Day, December 25, with the United Kingdom getting it a month earlier on November 28, released there by StudioCanal.