“After a period of denial, we’ve chosen ‘conscious uncoupling,’” Colin Firth told Entertainment Weekly last month about his role as the voice of “Paddington” bear for The Weinstein Company’s upcoming live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s story character. The Academy Award winner had voiced the character, but dropped out of production mid-way.
“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,” Firth said, but clearly the filmmakers and he had decided his voice wasn’t making the character completely come to life (hey, it happens, Spike Jonze had to throw out Samantha Morton’s voice role in “Her” and replace it with Scarlett Johansson because it just hadn’t nailed the emotion he was going for).
But a replacement’s been found. You may not be able to match the name to the face, but it’s English actor Ben Whishaw. Who? You might remember Whishaw as the new Q from the current Daniel Craig-starring James Bond series and or you may remember him from one of the many character roles in “Cloud Atlas” (come to think of it, it’s so jam packed with actors who play multiple roles, you probably don’t).
Producer David Heyman and director Paul King told U.K. writer Baz Bambigoye that Firth sensed early on that he wasn’t right for the role. “He was saying: ‘Are you sure I’m right?’ He was way ahead of us,” Heyman admitted. “Colin was brilliant, but his voice was, ultimately, too mature.”
Alrighty then. Well, Whishaw is in, Firth out. Despite the bump in production “Paddington” has still retained its release dates. The movie lands November 28th in the U.K, and December 25th in North America.