Entertainment Weekly have just announced the departure of (ex-) lead star Colin Firth from the central cast of StudioCanal's upcoming festive animated movie Paddington. Based, as you'd probably expect, on Michael Bond's Paddington Bear children's stories, the reboot will feature the voices of beloved Brit thesipans such as Doctor Who's Peter Capaldi, Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2's Julie Walters and The Railway Man's Nicole Kidman to name but a few.
None of those contributors were intended to lend their enthusiastic tones to the character of Paddington himself, though, since (until today, that is) Firth was cast in the role last year. "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," said Firth to EW, "[...] I still feel rather protective of this bear and I'm pestering [the production team] with suggestions for finding a voice worthy of him." Fans of Bond's culturally esteemed literary construct will just have to hope that someone steps in to replace the Mamma Mia actor soon enough to ensure that his sudden exit from the project doesn't result in an immediate delay of its release schedule...
Paddington steps off a London-bound train and into UK cinemas nationwide this November 28th.
UPDATE (18/07/2014) - StudioCanal have today confirmed that Ben Whishaw will take over as the thespian lending his voice to the role of Paddington in the upcoming film reboot of the same name. Fans of Skyfall will no doubt remember Whishaw's near-iconic portrayal of Q and as such should already hold a strong degree of confidence in the man's abilities as an accomplished performer. Paddington is still on track for its November 28th release date, and we'll endeavour to keep you posted on any further marketing or casting updates in the months leading up to its domestic première.