Colin Firth was set to voice the title character in the upcoming live-action/CG film Paddington when he left the project and now director Paul King is explaining a little more over the decision to find a new voice actor.
Though Paddington is set to hit theaters later this year, in June, Firth left the project stating that it was amicable. He used the now popular breakup phrase “conscious uncoupling” explain the move, while adding that his voice didn’t fit the character.
In speaking with Entertainment Weekly, King says that Firth was chosen to voice the character because of how he grew up listening to the British narrator, Michael Hordern. “My brain is infected with Michael Hordern.”
The director notes that Firth would remind him that’s not the voice of Paddington himself, just the narrator. “Colin was the first to say, ‘I just don’t know that I have this within me,’ and we slowly, sadly agreed.”
After the Kings Speech star left, Skyfall actor Ben Whishaw was tapped to add the voice as he is younger and King said they no longer had an actor struggling to find the voice for the character. King said, “‘Is it younger? Is it more enthusiastic?’ It slowly just became clear that Paddington does not have the voice of a very handsome older man.”
With Whishaw now as Paddington, King said he could actually see the character better. “When Ben started reading you went, ‘Oh yes, I see that is the bear.'”
Paddington hits theaters Christmas Day in the U.S.
image courtesy of ACE/INFphoto.com