— STUDIOCANAL UK (@StudioCanalUK) July 18, 2014
Ben Whishaw has been announced as the new voice of Paddington Bear. Last month Colin Firth announced he had dropped out of the film, saying that he had ‘come to the sad realisation that [Paddington] simply doesn’t have my voice.’
Producer David Heyman said ‘Colin was brilliant, but his voice was, ultimately, too mature. What we needed was a slightly more open, and younger, voice.’
Ben said he was called in for the audition out of the blue, and was rather reluctant about the idea initially.
‘I resisted a little bit, because I had a bad experience doing this kind of work in the past and I thought I was no good at it. But I was persuaded to go, slightly grudgingly,’ he said, adding that growing up he had ‘no relationship to Paddington whatsoever, other than that I knew he wore a duffle coat and a hat’.
Director Paul King said that after hearing Ben audition, ‘I slowly found myself hearing his voice when I was thinking about Paddington. He breathes and he speaks and he sounds like Paddington, rather than the most beautiful chocolate-voiced man [Firth] on the planet.’
Ben, who is rather soft-spoken in person, is finding recording an interesting experience ‘I just arrive and wear this funny helmet that has a camera attached to it. It’s highly mysterious to me,’ he laughed. ‘I just see what they’ve done on screen, which is really beautiful and very exciting.’