Like so many who have seen it, Colin Firth has fled in the opposite direction of Paddington, telling Entertainment Weekly that he’s dropped out of voicing the bear whose unfailing politeness is but a mask—a symptom of his sociopathic inability to see humans as anything more than interchangeable talking meat-bags. “After a period of denial, we’ve chosen ‘conscious uncoupling,” Firth said in a statement, making a cheeky reference to the previous record holder for creepiest thing involving an English person.
Firth went on to explain that the parting was “bittersweet” but amicable, and certainly had nothing to do with his having at last confronted the horrifying creation he’d spent the past months helping to bring to life. It also definitely had nothing to do with Firth’s realization that, no matter how many Oscars to his name, he would ever after have “Dead-Eyed Nightmare Bear” on his résumé.
As EW notes, a last-minute voice actor change is not unheard of, with everyone from Albert Brooks in Finding Nemo to Scarlett Johansson in Her making the most of their being Plan Bs. And director Paul King is positive he can similarly find a more suitable sound to come out of Paddington’s mouth in time for his December release date—like maybe the buzz of a thousand angry hornets, or a child’s desperate death rattle.