by Graham Pierrepoint
Disney has been making a habit of upgrading and remaking their most beloved cartoon classics into bold, brassy live action showcases in recent years. For the most part, these remakes have been well-received – the likes of The Jungle Book, Cinderella and Beauty and The Beast have all performed wonderfully critically and financially – meaning that this is certainly going to be a trend which will continue. Live action remakes of Aladdin, Mulan and The Lion King are reportedly on the cards, with the iconic Mary Poppins also set to make a return to the big screen soon – fittingly, under the title Mary Poppins Returns. This week, however, Disney have unveiled another live action remake that’s heading to our screens later this August – and while its emergence has been a massive surprise, the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Who’s next to get the live action touch? Everyone’s favorite bear – Winnie the Pooh!
Ewan McGregor is set to star as the lead character in a movie entitled Christopher Robin – which, according to its teaser trailer, will be focusing on an adult Robin who appears to be looking fairly down beaten by the daily grind – only, when he least expects it, a cuddly friend from years ago returns to brighten up his day. Pooh emerges in the trailer as a traditional-looking teddy bear, only with his unmistakable red top and whimsical, ponderous demeanor bringing floods of memories back to life.
Long-term fans of Disney’s 100 Acre Wood – which has overseen a number of cinematic releases and animated series over the years – were especially pleased to learn that veteran voice actor Jim Cummings has returned to voice Pooh, a role he has played for decades – and a number of big names have also joined the production to flesh out the magical cast. Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd, Girls, Moone Boy) will voice bouncy Tigger, Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, Dirty Pretty Things, After Earth) will take on the role of Kanga and ex-Doctor Who Peter Capaldi will lend his vocal talents to Rabbit. Certainly, it seems to be a fairly diverse cast – with Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss and Hayley Atwell (Marvel’s Agent Carter) – helping to fill out the human cast.
Christopher Robin promises to be a magical return to the world of Winnie the Pooh – let’s see if it can generate a few more memories when it debuts later this year!