FILM 1605: PADDINGTON
TRIVIA: The character of Paddington Bear is based on a lone teddy bear, noticed by author Michael Bond on a shelf in a London store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve 1956. Bond bought it as a present for his wife, and was eventually inspired to write a story. The outline of the lonely bear at Paddington Station was inspired by old newsreels showing train-loads of child evacuees leaving London during the Second World War, with labels around their necks and their possessions in small suitcases.
Karen Jankel, daughter of Paddington's creator Michael Bond, was almost moved to tears after the first screening she saw. "For me, it was bringing to life the bear that was so real to me. And I think they got it absolutely right".
Hugh Bonneville considers the Paddington character to be "a part of the DNA of the UK" and therefore he was nervous about joining the project: "I was very nervous when I first picked it up because I thought, 'I don't want my childhood being messed with'. He's such a vivid character for so many people, certainly in Britain. So I was very nervous when I started reading but within a page I was laughing out loud and was reminded of all the charming innocence and the warmth that Michael Bond put on the page."
According to director Paul King, Colin Firth was replaced as the voice of Paddington because, "It slowly just became clear that Paddington does not have the voice of a very handsome older man, who has the most beautiful voice on the planet". Firth had visited the set and worked with his live-action co-stars long before he began recording his lines, in order to help his co-stars and improve on his voice performance.
Nicole Kidman's childhood wish was to have Paddington Bear live at her home. She says that to participate in this film is the closest she will ever come to realize it.
Emma Thompson did an uncredited polishing of the script; she received a general thank-you in the end credits.
Although Paddington railway station was used for interior shots, the exterior establishing shot of 'Paddington' station is Marylebone, a few miles down the road. It was probably chosen as it is more aesthetically pleasing.
Jeremy Clarkson owns the very first produced Paddington Bear toy, since it was created by his mother Shirley Clarkson's company, Gabrielle Designs, which was the first Paddington licensee to create official Paddington toys.
A life-size bronze sculpture of the fictional Paddington Bear by Marcus Cornish was placed in Paddington Station, London, in 2000.