As the temperature falls and the nights draw in, late November will see a familiar bear make his way onto cinema screens. The Paddington most of us know is the cuddly, bespectacled creature from deepest darkest Peru, created by Michael Bond in 1958, but a new film adaptation sees him take on a grizzlier guise.
Voiced by Ben Whishaw, Paddington lands in London and finds his way into the home of the Brown family headed up by Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins – but can he escape from the clutches of Nicole Kidman’s evil taxidermist Millicent Clyde?
Kidman has already admitted her character is too “vicious and awful” for her children to see, but what else do we know about this update on the classic tale? RadioTimes.com got a glimpse of some early footage yesterday –courtesy of Bonneville himself – and we reckon there are some things you ought to know…
1. Paddington can skateboard. No, this isn’t some lame gimmick – the bear makes use of four wheels chasing a thief, no less, and in turn is followed by the police. The entire sequence takes place around Notting Hill’s Portobello Road and, trust us, it’s funny. Very funny.
2. Hugh Bonneville can’t roar. Not even a little bit. Ok, it should come as no surprise that the Downton patriarch’s attempts to break with decorum are lacking, but we reckon a mouse could raise a better roar than Bonneville’s Mr Brown.
3. “No story would be complete without a villain,” says Bonneville of Kidman’s blonde bobbed baddie. And villainous she is, roaming her office in a secret chamber of the Natural History Musuem, surrounded by stuffed specimens. But she’s got her eye on one animal in particular – and we reckon she’ll stop at nothing till her hands are on the prize. Kidman’s got a glint of Cruella De Vil in her eye as she sharpens her knives and plots her pursuit of Paddington. “That creature means a great deal to me,” she coos.
4. Paddington’s table manners leave a lot to be desired. In another funny scene from the film, we see the eponymous bear grappling with cream, tea and, er, ketchup, all of which he consumes (or attempts to) in his own novel way.
5. And, of course, he still feasts on marmalade. Jars of the stuff during his journey on a container ship from the depths of Peru – and wherever he is, there’s always a crafty marmalade sandwich stuffed inside his hat.
6. The final footage we were shown featured Jim Broadbent’s kindly Mr Gruber who tells Paddington the story of his journey to England from Hungary as a young refugee. “I soon learned a home is more than a roof over your head,” he tells his furry friend, offering a glimpse of some heart to the film, to go alongside the hearty laughs that Paddington churns out with ease.
Paddington is released in UK cinemas on 28 November 2014