If you live or work in and around London, there’s a good chance you’ve seen filming take place for the new Paddington Bear movie. It’s overdue, right? Here’s what you need to know about the production.
Paddington Bear, for those who have missed out on one of childhood’s greatest treasures, is a young Peruvian bear with a passion for all things British. When he is sent to England by his Aunt Lucy, who has set herself up in a home for retired bears in Lima, poor this poor unfortunate bear finds himself lost, alone and seeking a new home in Paddington Railway Station. Luckily he meets the kindly Brown family, who read the label around his neck (‘Please look after this bear. Thank you.’) and offer him a place to stay in their house at 32 Windsor Gardens off the Portobello Road.
The first Paddington book appeared in 1958 and they have gone on to be translated into 30 languages across 70 titles, and have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, so it makes sense that a film would be made eventually. How it took so long between the original television series broadcast in 1975 and now, we have no idea.
Colin Firth, who has been cast as the voice of the bear himself, recently teased that “Paddington will be computer generated, and I will speak his lines with, I suspect, a slight Peruvian flavour. Every other character in the film will be real, live, human beings.”
It sounds like our dear Paddington is getting the update he deserves, and our very own John Parrot stumbled across filming last Friday on Warner Street Bridge in Islington. With extras adorned in raincoats and carrying umbrellas, a fire engine was on hand to supply the effect of rain, and insiders informed us they were filming a scene where Paddington Bear is feeling very sad – hence the rain and brollies (pathetic fallacy, innit). Later on they were due to head elsewhere to film a scene in which Paddington Bear is happy – a drier scene with more colour.
Yeah, they don’t give a lot away.
Other cast members include Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins as Mr and Mrs Brown, Julie Walters as Mrs. Bird, and Nicole Kidman who is enjoying her dastardly ways as the evil taxidermist Millicent. Back in October she was spotted filming in the back of a black cab driven by Matt Lucas.
“My agent called,” she explained: “We’ve got this offer from London for you to be in a film about a Paddington Bear.” And I said: “You mean the Paddington Bear?! I was read the stories when I was little and I grew up with Paddington. I know all about his adventures and what mischief he got up to.”
It’s good to know the film is in the hands of fans. Producer David Heyman said “It’s a great honour to be able to bring Michael Bond’s beloved character to the big screen. I am hugely excited to bring the story of Paddington Bear to life.”
The film entitled Paddington will be released 28 November 2014, which is plenty of time for Mr Firth to practise stashing marmalade sandwiches under his hat. Oh wait, he’s only the voice. Oh well, enjoy that image, dear readers.
Check out our photos from the set in London Friday 29th Nov 2013 (click to enlarge):