During my recent trip to Los Angeles for the Christopher Red Carpet Premiere Event, we had the opportunity to interview Marc Forster, the person behind the Magic Christopher Robin, its Director. Marc Forster has directed amazing films such as Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball, The Kite Runner, and Quantum of Solace among many.
One could say that the idea of Christopher Robin came from Marc Forster’s daughter. Marc’s daughter, around age six, asked if he could perhaps create a movie that she could watch. The conversation went something like this:
“I was in a plane with my daughter and we were flying to, go, flying to a vacation and she’s watching an iPad, the, a Pooh cartoon and she said, she suddenly turned to me and said, hey, can’t you make a movie for kids once? And said all your movies are like, dark and for grownups and [LAUGHS] said I can’t watch any of them. She was six at the time and said, I said, yeah, why don’t we do Pooh, I said jokingly. I said, yeah. Why don’t do Pooh? And then ultimately, I started, I came back and you know, all the stars aligned.”
Christopher Robin is a film that follows the little boy from our younger generation of Winnie the Pooh movies into adulthood. This film takes place post-WW2 England, where Christopher Robin is a grown adult with a family of his own. When discussing why Marc had Ewan McGregor play the role of Christopher Robin, he said they had worked together about 10 years prior and he felt Ewan just had the right personality for the role of an adult Christopher Robin.
“He’s so good, but the one thing is there’s something about him, he, you just, he’s so likable and so lovely, you want to just connect with him and you want him that his heart opens again and he becomes playful and he reconnects with his family. And so you really root for him and it was really crucial to have an actor who has that sort of like, ability because otherwise, you, you suddenly don’t connect with him or don’t want to root for him.”
Marc tried to hold true to the era of the 1950’s which is a time when paid vacation started to be more mainstream. Christopher Robin’s role as an employee at Winslow Luggage seemed like the perfect position for the adult Christopher Robin to have during this era.
We went on to learn more about the technical difficulties that occurred during the filming of Christopher Robin. The actors first started acting with stuffed animals that were voiced by young actor students. From there they had to act looking at clay figures for the animation to work properly.
When asked about the filming location
“We shot lots of in Ashtown Forrest. Literally next to where Milne’s estate is and where the real woods forest was, where he was surrounded by, so that forest is probably like ten miles down the road where we shot and the little river where we built our Pooh bridge is connected to the same river that the real Pooh bridge is, so it’s all the same woods and neighborhood.”
How did you go about choosing the cast?
“It started that Ewan and I worked together, in 2004, and we stayed friends for a long time. We have been looking for something together, comedically and dramatically, He’s so good, but the one thing is there’s something about him, he’s so likable e and so lovely. You want to just connect with him and you want him that his heart opens again and he becomes playful and he reconnects with his family. And so you really root for him and it was really crucial to have an actor who has that kind of ability because otherwise, you suddenly do not connect with him or do not want to root for him because he said okay, rather not connect with your family again. The movie for me ultimately is about love. His red sweater is sort of like this metaphor for love. I always felt like it’s about the heart.”
As always we wanted to learn about Marc Forster’s opinion on what positive message the new film, Christopher Robin, will showcase for its audience.
“When you are able to make people laugh and cry in the same movie and you are able to tell the story with integrity and ground it in reality and have the magic realism on top of it, it lifts your spirits and connects you with the people you love,” says Forster. And this is a story Forster believes has never been more relevant. “I think it’s something we desperately need in the world,” he says. “We could all use a little bit of Pooh’s heart and wisdom right now.”
Don’t miss more press interviews from the Christopher Robin Event. Ewan McGregor who plays the role of Christopher Robin, Hayley Atwell as Evelyn Robin, Jim Cummings The Voice of Pooh and Tigger and Bronte Carmichael as Madeline!
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