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...
When I last met up with actress Hayley Atwell, it was December of 2015. I was Los Angeles for the Global Media Event for the theatrical launch of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but in the midst of things my group made a detour. After rolling onto the Universal Studios lot on Burbank, California, we soon found ourselves at the Los Angeles Office for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR). An incredible, 360° set located just a quick walk from where The Voice was taping, the 1940's-era West Coast home base for the precursor to S.H.I.E.L.D. was a sight to behold, and sadly, the work that went into creating it was seen in just one season of Marvel's Agent Carter. Just a few months later, that series would come to an end, but like many actors that find themselves welcomed into the Disney family, Atwell would soon find herself embarking on another adventure... this time into The Hundred Acre Wood. With Disney's Christopher Robin (reviewed here) now playing in theaters everywhere, Hayley sat down with a crew of the usual suspects (myself included) to talk about her role as Evelyn Robin in the film that would see Winnie the Pooh and friends brought to the big screen in live-action for the very first time.
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.
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.
One of my favorite places in the world is Legends Plaza on the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California. The first time I visited the studio lot, I had my picture taken right next to the famous "Partners" statue by sculptor Blaine Gibson. There are five versions of the statue, and visitors to Disney Parks know it well - a perfect vision of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, looking proudly in the distance, perhaps at what's been accomplished, but more intriguingly at what is yet to come. When I saw the latest catalog for Hallmark's Keepsake Ornaments (a tradition in our family) ahead of the annual July release, many items caught my eye, but one stood out - a version of "Partners" set for release this fall.
Later this month, I will be back on the ground in Los Angeles, working alongside my friends at Walt Disney Studios for the launch of their new film, Christopher Robin. Today, tickets for the film went on-sale (get 'em via my affiliate, Fandango) and families will get their first look into the Hundred Acre Wood on the night of August 2, for preview showings ahead of its August 3 release. As those tickets went on-sale, Disney also just released a new "Adventure" sneak-peek and an all-new featurette about the legacy of the famous characters created by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard. Take a look!