Producer David Heyman and StudioCanal have announced that principal photography has started for family adventure Paddington and have unveiled the cast for the film, based on the beloved fictional character from children's literature created by Michael Bond in 1958. In addition, Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein have acquired North American rights and will release the film under new moniker TWC-Dimension.
StudioCanal developed the film, is fully financing and will distribute in the UK, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, and is handling international sales. The film will open in the UK November 28, 2014. The film will be released wide in North America by TWC-Dimension in the first quarter of 2015.
The first ever live action film inspired by Michael Bond's best-selling books, will star Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) as Mr. Brown, Colin Firth (The King's Speech, A Single Man, Bridget Jones's Diary) as the voice of Paddington Bear and Nicole Kidman (The Hours, Rabbit Hole, Moulin Rouge) as the evil taxidermist determined to wreak her revenge. They are joined by Sally Hawkins as Mrs. Brown, Julie Walters as Mrs. Bird, the housekeeper, and Jim Broadbent as Mr. Gruber, the owner of the antiques shop.
The story follows the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear with a passion for all things British who travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined - until he meets the kindly Brown family who read the label around his neck ('Please look after this bear. Thank you.') and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist...
Producer David Heyman had this to say in a statement.
"It's a great honor to be able to bring Michael Bond's beloved character to the big screen. I am hugely excited to be working with Paul King, whose imagination, flair, and sense of wit and wonder, make him the ideal director. And I am thrilled that we now have such an exceptional cast to bring the story of Paddington Bear to life."
Olivier Courson, StudioCanal Chairman and CEO also released a statement.
"We're very happy to announce all of this good news at the same time. We've been developing the film with David Heyman for a while. Starting the shoot with such a great cast is a dream come true. And we are thrilled to have Harvey and Bob Weinstein joining us in the adventure."
"We have both always loved the stories of Paddington Bear and the amazing library of work from David Heyman. This film has the sensibilities of classic filmmaking as well as commercial appeal. We are excited to partner with StudioCanal and look to this as a potential future franchise, bringing this long time cherished character to the big screen for the first time."