The already widely-mocked Paddington movie is losing perhaps its most credible component: voice of the titular character, Colin Firth.
Firth told EW today that “After a period of denial, we’ve chosen ‘conscious uncoupling,’” to describe his split from the production. This move will certainly raise some eyebrows, given that the movie is slated for release on Christmas Day and the first trailer premiered last week.
Given that Firth’s part was voice-only, though, it isn’t so crazy for him to drop out this late in the game. Firth simply believed that the fit wasn’t there, saying:
“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. 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 studio agreed with Firth in their statement, with director Paul King saying:
“I cannot thank [Firth] enough for his contribution to Paddington. We love the voice and we love the bear, but as our young bear came into being we agreed that the two didn’t seem to fit. So, with somewhat heavy hearts we decided to part ways.”
While this hiccup is not a great omen for production, all could be rectified if they find the right person to replace Firth. If they’re looking for a bumbling Brit who could be endearingly mischievous (and also appeared with Firth in Bridget Jones’ Diary), we’d submit an obvious choice: Hugh Grant.