Colin Firth's 'Conscious Uncoupling' From Movie

Chiswick star decides not to grin and 'bear' his latest part


Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Comment on this story on the

He won an Oscar for playing a British monarch with a speech impediment but Colin Firth had to admit failure when it came to using his vocal talents in the role of a children's story character.

The Chiswick-based actor joked that he had a "conscious uncoupling" from his part playing the voice of Paddington Bear, in a film of the much-loved children's classic, which is due for release in the UK this November.

The star has pulled out of the role despite the fact that the film is almost finished, claiming his voice just does not fit the part. The film producers are now looking for a replacement voice for Paddington Bear.

"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," said Firth. "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 film will star Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) and Sally Hawkins as Mr and Mrs. Brown, who adopt the bear after he is found wandering around the London railway station with a notice around his neck asking to be looked after. Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent also star, along with Nicole Kidman who confessed to being a big fan of the Michael Bond books when she was a child. Kidman recently co-starred with Colin Firth in The Railway Man.

Colin Firth as Eric Lomax in The Railway Man

The first Paddington Bear story was published in 1958. Author Michael Bond based the character on a teddy bear he bought on Christmas Eve 1956 as a present for his wife. He said the story was inspired by his memories of seeing newsreels of children evacuated from the cities, with identity labels around their necks.

The books were translated in thirty languages and sold over 30 million copies worldwide. A number of television adaptations have been made, including a Paddington Bear animation voiced by Sir Michael Hordern. The marmalade-sandwich chomping bear and his duffle coat have delighted children for generations.

The film is being produced by Harry Potter veteran David Heyman and directed by Paul King (The Mighty Boosh). It is expected to be released on November 28th.



June 19, 2014