Colin Firth Exits as Voice of ‘Paddington’

The Weinstein Co. still plans to release the family film in the U.S. on Christmas Day

The Weinstein Company released a trailer for “Paddington” last week that curiously didn’t feature a single line of dialogue from the beloved bear. Now we know why.

Colin Firth, who was set to voice the role of Paddington, has exited the film, which is still due in theaters on Christmas Day.

“After a period of denial, we’ve chosen ‘conscious uncoupling,’” Firth said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly.

Also read: ‘Paddington’ Teaser Trailer: Colin Firth’s Bear Travels From Peru to London in 51 Seconds (Video)

The split was described as amicable by both Firth and director Paul King, who will cast Firth’s replacement in the coming weeks.

“It’s been bittersweet to see this delightful creature take shape and come to the sad realization that he simply doesn’t have my voice,” Firth told EW. “I’ve had the joy of seeing most of the film and it’s going to be quite wonderful. I still feel rather protective of this bear and I’m pestering them all with suggestions for finding a voice worthy of him.”

“I cannot thank [Firth] enough for his contribution to ‘Paddington.’ We love the voice and we love the bear, but as our young bear came into being we agreed that the two didn’t seem to fit. So, with somewhat heavy hearts we decided to part ways,” King said in a statement to EW. He added that the new actor will ensure that Paddington’s “big screen debut is magnificent.”

Also read: ‘Downton Abbey’s’ Hugh Bonneville in Negotiations to Star in ‘Paddington Bear’ (Exclusive)

Judging by its trailer, “Paddington” looks finished, and since voice-over roles don’t take that long to finish, the film’s planned release is expected to continue as planned.

After all, Warner Bros. didn’t have to delay the release of Spike Jonze‘s “Her” when Scarlett Johansson replaced Samantha Morton as the voice of Joaquin Phoenix‘s operating system in the midst of production.