Jim Cummings is a voice acting legend having voiced over 400 roles. He is Darkwing Duck, the Tasmanian Devil, Goofy’s nemesis Pete, Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger too. He returns to the roles of Pooh and Tigger in Disney’s Christopher Robin.
The live action film stars Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin and Hayley Atwell plays Christopher’s spirited wife Evelyn. Their pre-adolescent daughter Madeline Robin is played by Bronte Carmichael. Soft spoken Pooh, high-spirited Tigger, and the rest of their friends from the Hundred Acre Wood are brought to life through CGI.
A grown-up Christopher Robin is caught between his work and his family. Pooh magically drops in and the pair set out to find Pooh’s missing friends. On the way, Christopher Robin rediscovers the important things in his life.
When asked about what the film says about childhood, Cummings replied, “If you do it right, it doesn’t have to go anywhere. It’s always there. I’ve been saying lately, I actually have my old teddy bear and he brings me back. And I use him for when my kids have nightmares. I said, well, here, his name is Michael, and he’d fit right in with them. He looks just like, he’s just as threadbare and just as worn. I use him if my daughters have nightmares. I said, well, here’s Michael. And he’s got so much love and so many hugs in him from over the years, that you can’t have a nightmare while he’s there. Oh really? Yeah.”
The original voice of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh was Sterling Holloway. And Tigger’s original voice actor was Paul Winchell. Jim Cumming talked about taking on both of those roles. “But at the time, job one was just to sound like the originals. Sterling had retired, and Paul, God bless him, his health was failing. And so, I jokingly refer to myself at that point as Tigger light. Because he’d be in a few shows, then he’d take off and go to Africa to cure hunger. I’m serious. Then he would come back for a few shows. Then when he retired, I ended up taking over.”
“And that, taking over for Paul, I never even got to meet Sterling Holloway, I’m sorry to say. But Paul was a buddy. He was a friend of mine. I know his daughter very well. Taking over from Sterling was just something that I did from day one. But with Paul, we went back and forth for literally a couple of years. Then his health started to fail and that’s when he had his stroke. He told me he could see the space between his hands. That was about it. That might’ve been his last day recording. And I remember asking him, gosh, well, what does this mean now? And he just kind of looked at the floor and put his hand on my shoulder and he said, it means I want you to take care of my little buddy for me. So, that’s what it was like taking over for him. And I made it to the car before I cried, I think. And now, you’re stuck with me [LAUGHS].”
On the Film
Talking about working on Christopher Robin, Cummings said, “Well, we knew it would be a little less boisterous, by virtue of the animation. It’s not traditional 2D animation. It’s a little more subtle. And they’re probably not quite indestructible. After all they are cloth and stuffing. But it was just a more still approach, a more zen sort of approach. For lack of a better word, a little more serenity. Not completely insane for honey the whole. No flights of bees carrying them aloft. And no cliffs, no cliff diving. So, it’s, just in general, a little more pulled back. And it works, I think… so well. And I just hope everybody else loves it too.”
Christopher Robin hits theatres August 3, 2018.
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