Published September 13, 2013
LONDON (AFP) – The King's Speech star Colin Firth is to voice Paddington Bear in a Hollywood film about the adventures of the duffle coat-wearing Peruvian, media reports said on Friday.
The Oscar-winning actor, a heartthrob to many after his wet shirt scene as Mr Darcy in the BBC's "Pride and Prejudice", told the Daily Mail newspaper he would voice the bear in a film combining live action with computer-generated images (CGI).
Australian Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman will play the villain in the movie spearheaded by David Heyman, the producer of the Harry Potter movies.
"Paddington will be computer generated, and I will speak his lines with, I suspect, a slight Peruvian flavour," Firth, 53, told the Mail.
"Every other character in the film will be real, live human beings.
"But the idea is that Paddington will have something of me in his DNA because I???m going to do some sessions wearing one of those helmets with cameras to capture my face muscles, and all that data will somehow be incorporated into Paddington."
The hairy marmalade-eater made his first appearance in 1958 in Michael Bond's book A Bear Called Paddington, in which the Brown family find him sitting in Paddington train station, having made his way there from "darkest Peru".
The family adopt the bear -- who carries an old hat, a suitcase and a sign reading "Please Look After This Bear" -- and he goes on to have 20 books' worth of adventures.
Filming of the new movie starts in September and it is due in cinemas in November 2014.
The Studiocanal film will also feature Hugh Bonneville, of Downton Abbey, along with Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent.
Paul King, director of the TV series The Mighty Boosh, is to direct the film, according to the film trade magazine Screen Daily.
"I just had to do the bear film... I grew up with Paddington," the Mail quoted Kidman as saying.
The Hollywood Reporter said she would play "an evil taxidermist out for revenge".
The stories have previously been adapted in cartoon form and using puppets.