Every once in a while a great bear comes along to define a generation. The 1920s had innocent honey-loving Hundred Acre Wood dweller Winnie-the-Pooh. The ‘60s had Disney’s hip-shaking, jungle-based groove machine Baloo. Then in the 1970s there was those counter-cultural freakanoids, the Hair Bear Bunch. Now it’s the turn of Peru’s finest, Paddington, for a spell in the spotlight. And here he is on the new Paddington teaser poster, but be warned, he’s a little shy.
Technically, it’s the ageless Paddington’s fourth spell in the lights. Originally appearing in Michael Bond’s books in 1958, he’s had two TV incarnations, of which the 1970s 2D/3D animation by far the most fondly remembered, and director Paul ‘Bunny And The Bull’ King is promising to tap the spirit of all three. “We want [Paddington] to work for people who’d read the books in the ‘60s”, he tells Empire, “people who’d watched the TV show in the ‘70s and people who watched the ‘80s”.
The origin story of Paddington’s journey from Peru to Paddington Station, albeit razzed up with the odd helicopter shot and a big old earthquake, should be familiar to most. The bear-out-of-water capers that ensue in the Big Smoke reintroduce old favourites like the Browns (Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin), Mrs. Bird (Julie Walters) and the cranky Mr. Gruber (Jim Broadbent), as well as a new nemesis in the shape of demented taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman).
That Oscar-y cast is topped off by Colin Firth, the voice of everyone’s favourite spectacled bear. See/hear them all in action when Paddington reaches our cinemas on November 28. Click here to watch the teaser trailer in the meantime.