In case you were wondering, no, Disney has not decided to go the route of so many superheroes and set the clock at Hundred Acre Wood back to explore where Winnie The Pooh got his honey obsession or whether Tigger was created by a pharmaceutical trial gone wrong. Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment is instead exploring the genesis of the character itself.
The company has nabbed the film rights to Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall’s book Finding Winnie, which is scheduled to arrive on bookshelves later next year. Mattick’s tome traces how her great-grandfather, Harry Colebourn, bought an orphaned bear cub in Ontario as he was about to be posted to Europe during World War I.
Nicknaming the animal Winnie because Colebourn came from Winnipeg, he took the cub to England, where she served as the mascot for his regiment. When Colebourn was sent to France, he left her at London Zoo and then donated her there so she could be properly cared for as she grew. It’s there that Winnie The Pooh creator A. A. Milne encountered her, thanks to his son’s constant visits to the zoo. The rest is literary and film/toy/merchandising history. If the story sounds familiar, it might be because you’re either a big Winnie fan or you saw the 2004 TV movie, which featured Michael Fassbender as Colebourn.
It’s early days for this one, and Ratner and his producing partners are looking for filmmakers to develop it. Perhaps they’ll aim for a Saving Mr. Banks-style story…