This weekend's "Christopher Robin" is the latest lavish live-action adaptation of a beloved Disney animated property (in this case, it's the series of animated featurettes and full-length films based on the characters and stories of A.A. Milne), following on the heels of "Beauty and the Beast," "The Jungle Book" and the sorely underrated "Pete's Dragon."
And, like all of those other movies, it is utterly adorable, taking a known and much-beloved property and updating it for modern audiences in an entirely different format.
In "Christopher Robin," Ewan McGregor plays the title role, a man who has left his adventuring in the Hundred Acre Wood, gone off and fought in World War II (yes, really) and has lost all of imagination and curiosity and it's up for his old, fuzzy pals to remind him of who he truly is (and to help him reconnect with his daughter and wife). It's cute and heartwarming and all the things you'd expect from a movie like this, but with a melancholy edge that is very much appreciated.
What's even more appreciated was that we got some genuine insight from the movie's press day.
1. Tigger Came This Close to Being Voiced by Chris O'Dowd (Yes, Really)
One of the more baffling decisions on "Christopher Robin" came when the producers decided to not utilize Jim Cummings as the voice of Tigger, even though he's been doing it, off and on, since Paul Winchell retired in the late 1980s.
Instead, comedian (and "Bridesmaids" breakout) Chris O'Dowd was hired to do the voice of the character, and up until a few months ago, remained in place. In fact, Cummings (who still voices Pooh in the film) was just as shocked. "It was a surprise [not playing Tigger]. It took some wind out of my sails," Cummings admitted.
While Cummings doesn't know for sure what happened, he has an idea. "I think what happened was you just get used to a sound, a voice, an attitude. And in this case it was decades old, you know, they were used to me for forever," Cummings said. "I think they just said, 'Well, gosh, it's such a wonderful project... maybe we don't want to introduce such a radically new wrinkle, maybe, and maybe we just go back with something that everybody's going to glom onto, and something that they've heard.' Next thing I know I was looping in the Tigger lines, and I hope it worked."
2. Director Marc Forster Was Inspired By His 6-Year-Old Daughter
Three years ago, director Marc Forster was riding on a plane with his daughter, who was at the time six. She asked Forster, who has made very R-rated films like "Monster's Ball" and "The Kite Runer" (alongside more all-ages fare like "Finding Neverland" and "Quantum of Solace"), "Why don't you make a movie for me?" She pointed to the screen in front of her on the plane, which was playing what we can only assume was 2011's "Winnie the Pooh" feature. Forster relented. "Okay, I'll make Pooh."
Now, finally, he is following through on his promise to his little girl, with an honest-to-goodness Pooh movie in the form of "Christopher Robin." Dreams do come true!
3. Hayley Atwell Finds Something Quite Profound About Pooh
Hayley Atwell plays Christopher Robin's put upon wife and during the press day, she made a very moving argument for the purity of Pooh's spirit. When asked about what people should take away from the movie, she pointed to a scene in which Pooh is hurt by Christopher Robin and the methods in which the character handles that rejection.
"When I watched it, what I found so heartbreaking is that Pooh, who is almost this kind of beacon of pure, unconditional love, as pets are, when he is hurt how he processes it. Instead of choosing to act out or attack back or become in any way defensive, he's still so open," Atwell said. "That, to me, is a beautiful, tender moment of unconditional love. I think we're born with that, and as we grow, we learn more sophisticated tactics of defense and attack that make us bitterer as we get older. The purity of that moment when he asks, 'Did you forget about me?' I find its humanity and dignity quite profound."
4. No, Ewan McGregor Doesn't Know Anything About the Obi-Wan Movie
After telling a fairly hilarious story about surprising a group of "Star Wars" fans during an all-night marathon running up to "The Last Jedi," McGregor was (of course) asked about the status of the long-rumored Obi-Wan spin-off film. Given the unsteadiness of the spin-offs following the underperformance of this summer's "Solo: A Star Wars Story," it seemed to go from a given to a soft maybe. And, as it turns out, McGregor doesn't know anything either.
"I don't know anything more about it than you do, I'm afraid," McGregor said. "I really don't. But I'd be up for it, you know."
Did McGregor just give us … a new hope?
"Christopher Robin" is in theaters now.
Christopher Robin -- now a family man living in London -- receives a surprise visit from his old childhood pal, Winnie-the-Pooh. With Christopher's help, Pooh embarks on a journey to find his friends -- Tigger, Eeyore, Owl, Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga and Roo. Once reunited, the lovable bear and the gang travel to the big city to help Christopher rediscover the joy of life. Read More