Disclosure: This post is part of my all expense paid trip to Los Angeles, CA provided by Disney, in exchange for coverage. However, opinions are 100% mine.
Another amazing person that we interviewed as part of my recent press junket event to Burbank, California, was Jim Cummings! What an honor to be able to interview this actor who plays the voices for both Winnie the Pooh and Tigger in Disney’s new film Christopher Robin. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to try to play two very different personalities in this new film. He entered the room making jokes and all cheery and was more than happy to answer all of our questions. I’m sharing some of his replies so that you can get to know the voice behind Winnie the Pooh and Tigger in this amazing new Disney film that already hit theaters on August 3, 2018. Have you watched it?
Was It Difficult to Toggle Between Voicing Pooh and Tigger During Recordings?
In a unique voice, Jim Cummings answered this question using both Pooh and Tigger’s voice:
“It’s very hard. It’s tough to do. I have to conjure up about a sweet spot somewhere. And then, I just bounce. We’re schizophrenic, so it doesn’t bother us. We’re okay with it. Aren’t we? Yes, we are. [LAUGHTER]”
We proceeded to ask Jim to share how he was able to come up with the voices of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. To which Jim explained that he sculpts the voices of his characters. Being able to become a character is all about morphing yourself into them. In this particular film, Jim stated that it’s all about audio sculpting, but you still have to be the character. Learning to be Winnie the Pooh and Tigger was about playing the characters fully, even down to their hiccups and sneezes. The animators and producers work with him to create the voices. He gave us an example of how he plays the role of Dark Wing duck for Disney’s new DuckTales show. Very talented person!
How Does It Feel To Voice Winnie the Pooh, A Well-Established Character?
“It’s an honor, it’s a privilege to bring them [characters] forward to new generations. I’ve jokingly said, ‘Winnie the Pooh generation is every three and a half years because of a brand new set of Pooh fans.’ You know, but, it’s joyous. One of the best things about my job is that when I’ll do a voice for a little child and then they realize, ‘wow, doesn’t really look like Winnie the Pooh.’”
Jim went on to talk about how Winnie the Pooh is just a voice of comfort for everyone. No matter how old you are (and don’t we know it!), when you hear Winnie the Pooh’s voice you can’t help but be transformed back to age five when you watched the simple Winnie the Pooh logic. Pooh has a way of making everything okay in the simplest of ways. Jim went on to refer to Pooh’s voice as “audio comfort”. There’s something magical about this little bear that’s brought so much joy to family’s generation after generation.
When asked if Jim helped write the Pooh dialogue, he answered:
“I ad lib a lot. That’s why they get me with Tigger and Pooh. And, not so much with the other characters that I’ve done. Hondo from Star Wars and Dark Wing is another. And Ray, Princess and the Frog, he was one of my favorites. I think for Princess and the Frog probably was the only movie I don’t say one thing they wrote.”
What Advice would you give a young person if they wanted to follow in your footsteps:
Jim’s response was: “I was always in plays. I always did impressions. I always say that if you do a perfect impression of someone, that is cool. If you do an impression of someone, that is famous but knows that you do not sound like them, then that is a new character. If you do someone that does not know that is a new character … .I would do research of the characters. We are just character actors you do not see. You mix and match. If it is a voice, it is a character. There is a mindset”.
Lastly, we wanted to know what Jim Cummings does to protect his voice, after all, he is the voice for many of Disney’s animated characters. Jim simply told us that he says alive. He really doesn’t do a whole lot to protect it, other than he doesn’t drink or smoke cigarettes. When Jim is attending a football game or concert he doesn’t spend a lot of time yelling, he doesn’t have that personality. When it comes to protecting his voice, he simply lives life fully and takes care of himself. That is a great and healthy way to take care of it!
What characters has Jim Cummings voiced?
Here is a short list of characters that Jim Cummings has voiced throughout his career:
- Christopher Robin – Winnie The Pooh and Tigger
- The Princess and The Frog – Ray
- Winnie The Pooh – Pooh and Tigger
- Aladdin – Razoul / Farouk
- Shrek – Captain of Guards
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (TV Series) – Hondo Ohnaka
- Adventure Time (TV Series) – Pete Sassafras / Matthew
- Mickey and the Roadster Racers (TV Series) – Pete / Pineapple Patty / Dr. Fozz
- The Looney Tunes Show (TV Series) – Tasmanian Devil / Beaky Buzzard
- Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (TV Series) – Lidong / Rhino Guard
- Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess (TV Movie) – Wormwood / Professor Popov
- Thundercats (TV Series) – Caspian
- Gnomeo & Juliet – Featherstone
“Winnie the POOH is not a franchise to me. It is a Universe of some sort,” Jim Cummings. Awwww
Christopher Robin is in theatres now! Haven’t watched the movie yet? Check out the trailer:
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