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For many of us the name Paddington Bear brings to mind a cuddly yet adventurous teddy with a rain slicker and big floppy hat. Yet when Studio Canal revealed their computer generated version of this lovable bear for their upcoming children's movie Paddington, they gave us a version that proved shockingly creepy. And now this chilling little visitor has gotten ever creepier with news he's lost his voice.
EW reports Colin Firth has left Paddington and will no longer be lending his voice to the bathroom-wrecking bear. Or as the celebrated English actor put it, "After a period of denial, we’ve chosen ‘conscious uncoupling,’" offering news along with a cheeky reference to the divorce of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin.
While we'd love to speculate Firth bailed because of the largely negative attention Paddington is getting online--where he is being photoshopped alongside some of horror's most iconic creeepers--Firth insists this is an amicable break, explaining:
"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."
Likewise Paddington director Paul King is quite polite in his statement about Firth's departure:
"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."
With Paddington opening on December 25th, 2014, this change-up in casting is unexpected. However, it's not unprecedented--especially when it comes to animation or voice-over work. EW notes Ty Burrell replaced Robert Downey Jr. as the voice of the brainiac dog in Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Albert Brooks took over for William H. Macy as the fretful clownfish of Finding Nemo, and -- with Her completely in postproduction -- Scarlett Johansson was brought in to voice the lovestruck A.I. Samantha, while Samantha Morton's track was cut. Just last year Disney dropped Jon Cryer for Dane Cook shortly after their Planes got upgraded to a theatrical release.
Firth's departure--while a new obstacle to Paddington's crew--is not expected to delay the film's Christmas release. For now, Paddington's makers are not hinting at who they might be pursuing to replace Firth. But considering the following photoshop as inspiration, please weigh in with your suggestions in the poll below.
Who would you like to hear play #creepyPaddington?