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With Disney's Christopher Robin (reviewed here) delighting audiences with a tale of what happened when the most famous boy of The Hundred Acre Wood grew up, I recently had the chance to catch up with Director Marc Forster to discuss the production. While the entire genesis is fascinating - largely prompted a plane ride with his daughter in which she mentioned doing a Winnie the Pooh movie, what I was most interested in was the lived-in and much-loved look of the characters.  Seeing Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo, Owl and Rabbit realized in "live-action" thanks to the magic of CGI aided by real-world puppetry was wondrous, but I was curious how they arrived at what we see on screen... characters that looked to be a combination of the "Classic Pooh" from the books by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard along with flourishes taken from the famous Disney animated versions...

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Kids should be allowed to be kids and enjoy the freedom of unstructured imaginative play. That's a message that I've spoken of often, and it's one that's placed firmly at the heart of Disney's Christopher Robin. In that film, Christopher (Ewan McGregor) has grown up, and as a father himself, he's forgotten about the importance and magic of play. For his daughter, Madeline (Bronte Carmichael), childhood is headed in a bleaker direction until some familiar characters from The Hundred Acre Wood arrive, reminding Christopher of what once was and what still could be. In Los Angeles last week, I had a chance to meet with the 11-year-old actress inhabiting the role of Madeline to discuss the experience of joining Winnie the Pooh and friends for their first live-action adventure. Already a professional actor with a bright career ahead of her, how does Bronte play?

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Even if you don't know Jim Cummings, you certainly know his voice. For the past 30 years, he's been the man behind the familiar sound of the most famous resident of The Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie the Pooh. Taking over for Hal Smith in keeping Sterling Holloway's famous rasp alive, Cummings has become familiar to generations. "I’ve jokingly said, you know, a ‘Winnie the Pooh' generation is every three and a half years because that brings a brand new set of Pooh fans," he says with a smile, taking some time to sit down with a group (including yours truly) during the launch of Disney's Christopher Robin (reviewed here) in Los Angeles. For the Marc Forster-directed take on a grown-up boy who's lost his way, Cummings inhabits the "live-action" (via CGI) Pooh, along with Tigger (who he took over formally in 2005). During the course of our interview, Jim bounced seamlessly between his own voice and that of his characters...

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Going into the World Premiere of Disney's Christopher Robin on The Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank Monday night, I was in the unique position that I'd actually already done something that much of the cast and crew had not - I'd seen the film in a private screening with my group the night before. Now, writing this review a day prior to its theatrical release, I'm eager to see it again with my family - a prospect that I was already looking forward to before seeing it, and am even more excited about having seen it twice already. Christopher Robin isn't necessarily the film that you might think that it is. Indeed, young Christopher isn't really that young anymore, and yes - the residents of The Hundred Acre Wood do set out to help him (as seen in the trailers), but that's not the point. Christopher Robin is a film about family - specifically about being present and aware of all that is good around us. As I tweeted upon exiting the theater, Christopher Robin is a film that will make you rethink your life, and it's also about something that's very dear to me... the importance of play.

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This interview may contain minor spoilers for Disney's Christopher Robin...

It's a sunny afternoon in Beverly Hills as I enter the Montage, immediately complimented by a member of the house staff for the Marvel t-shirt peeking out from beneath my Red Kap button-down. I take off my sunglasses and head for the staircase, en route to a meeting on the second floor with a man whom I've never met, but one whose work I've been enjoying ever since I rented a copy of Danny Boyle's Shallow Grave on VHS from a Hogan's Video store in Davenport, Iowa back in 1995 or so. Taking a seat at the table for a roundtable interview (I feel compelled to point out that in reality, the table was rectangular), I placed my Funko Pop! Vinyl Winnie the Pooh near the head seat just in time for Ewan McGregor to pull up a chair to discuss his title role in Disney's Christopher Robin

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This Christopher Robin Special Feature is presented in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company...

The Walt Disney Studios lot in sunny Burbank, California is a magical place as-is... a place where the power of imagination has been harnessed to shape and realize timeless stories that will continue to inspire audiences until the end of time. But on Monday night, something truly unique happened as that magic manifested itself in new ways. To celebrate the release of Disney's Christopher Robin, the lot was transformed into a wondrous place that had not only been ripped from the pages, but had leaped from the screen. For the World Premiere and red carpet, cast, crew and invited guests were welcomed not just onto the Studio lot, but into The Hundred Acre Wood.

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