Christopher Robin’s Director: His Daughter’s Wish

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Director Marc Forster has made award winning dramas like Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland, and Stranger than Fiction.  He has also directed blockbuster action films, such as Quantum of Solace and World War Z.  Forster’s most recent film, Christopher Robin, has the director trying something more family friendly.

A DAUGHTER’S WISH

The German-born filmmaker explained the origins of this project.  “Sean Bailey [president of production at The Walt Disney Studios] and I know each other for a long time. And he offered me several projects throughout the years.  When this came along, basically the sort of the backstory is, I was on a plane with my daughter. We’re flying on a vacation and she’s like, has an iPod and she’s a basicly watching the Pooh cartoon. And she turns to me and said, can you finally do a movie for me? I can’t watch any of your movies. They’re all too dark. She was six at that time.  I said, why don’t we do that? And I pointed to Pooh, and she said, yeah, why don’t you make Pooh, and three years later, there we are.”

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

Christopher Robin is an adaptation of the original Winnie the Pooh books as well as the Disney animated films and television shows.  It stars Ewan McGregor as a grown-up Christopher Robin and with Hayley Atwell playing his spirited wife Evelyn. Bronte Carmichael plays Madeline Robin, their pre-adolescent daughter.

The child Christopher Robin, who played with Winnie the Pooh and friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, has grown into a responsible man.  But his work has taken him away from his family and the joy from his life.  Pooh magically appears in Christopher Robin’s home in London and turns his life upside down.  The following adventure reminds Christopher Robin that the most important thing in his life is his family.

PITCHING THE IDEA

Forster talked about approaching Sean Bailey with his idea.  “Then when I met him, I had a whole very clear visual representation of what the movie is going to be, what the color is going to be, the feel, the tone. And I wanted to make sure we’re making the same movie. Because ultimately, if you go into business with a studio and you making one movie, I’m making another one, sooner or later there will be a conflict. And one learns when he gets older [LAUGHTER]. That’s a waste of time.  So, I’m being very specific because there’s the vision for my movie. If you like it, great. If you don’t, don’t do it. So, they signed off and they were supportive and it was no problem today.”

REAL STUFFED ANIMALS

In Christopher Robin, Pooh and his friends are toy stuffed animals that move and talk.  Rabbit and Owl are a literal rabbit and owl that also talk.  Forster discussed the use of stuffed animals instead of a look closer to the cartoons.  “From the beginning on, it was always the intention to make them as realistic. That was always what I wanted to do. My intent was to go back to the early Shephard drawings. And make it feel like, when you see this character, he should feel [like a] well hugged bear.”

“It’s a well, like a toy that’s been used by this kid. Adding Jim Cummings voice to it, it should feel like it’s this warm blanket you put over you.  I’m feeling the times we live in, the more hope, joy, and love we can put out there the better.”

Christopher Robin hits theaters August 3, 2018.

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