A trend that seems to be emerging in Hollywood are filmmakers with clear, directorial voices taking on animation or family oriented projects. Edgar Wright just signed up to direct a project for DreamWorks, Garth Jennings (“Son Of Rambow“) is working on “Sing” for Universal, Wes Anderson is going stop motion again, while Alex Ross Perry (“Listen Up Philip,” “Queen Of Earth“) was hired to write the live action “Winnie The Pooh” earlier this year. And the filmmaker has revealed some rather surprising inspirations for his take on the beloved childhood character which suggests the bear will still be as morose as ever.
“You can’t give people a movie that is different from what they remember otherwise they’ll hate it,” he conceded to Collider as he explained his approach, noting, “There’s eight animal friends in the movie and each one has a specifically distinctive voice that everybody remembers exactly the way it is.”
However, on a tonal level, Perry cities some interesting influences. “There’s a lot inspired by the relationship between David and Teddy in ‘A.I.‘ That’s not really a children’s film at all. Crushingly depressing. But the relationship between human and toy bear in that movie is pretty spot on,” he said. “And ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox‘ is something I’ve been talking about and thinking about because it has a lot of characters and each one is pretty distinct. It’s a fun movie and it works for a four-year-old and for a thirty-year-old. But David and Teddy in ‘A.I.’ is the relevant model.”
“We’re looking at ‘Toy Story‘ a lot because that’s a thing about toys that are alive just as Pooh Bear and his friends are all stuffed animals. Those films are all emotionally satisfying and classy and clever in a really sophisticated way,” he added.
Perry also noted Harrison Ford‘s downer drama “Regarding Henry” and the screwball classic “Holiday” as other movies that have entered the conversation as works with Disney on “Winnie The Pooh.” And overall, it seems they went to keep the core of the characters right, though they are casting the net a bit wider in terms of the depth of emotion, which seems like a smart move.
No word yet if Perry will think about directing the project too, but he seems to be enjoying the process.