Walt Disney Pictures
We’re inside the famed Disney Animation Building in Burbank, California to get the backstory on the new “Pooh” film from the directors and the voice actors behind Pooh, Tigger and Rabbit.
Pooh and pals are being brought back to life in the first big screen adventure in more than 35 years.We’re actually seated in an office inside Mickey’s giant Sorcerer hat for our interviews.
Jim Cummings, whose long voice actor career includes the voice of Ray the Cajun Firefly in The Princess and the Frog and characters in The Lion King, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the recent Gnomeo and Juliet, comes into the “hat” and looks up at the pointy ceiling. “Are we in the hat part? I was never in here. This is so cool!”
TeenHollywood: Way back, other famous actors voiced Pooh and Tigger. Did you try to sound like them?
Jim: Yes, well, (you do) that sort of fluttery, quaky little whimsical voice, and then from there you step into the personality. Pooh will never be the bully so you’ve got to stay true to the character and hopefully expand it from there. It’s like a recipe. You have to follow the original recipe and voice, but you can put a little of your own salt in there and bring it up to date.
TeenHollywood: Did you ever shoot a scene where Tigger and Pooh are together at one time so you are basically talking to yourself?
Jim: (laughs) Back and forth in a conversation? I stopped doing that because a (little) Pooh would be left on “Tigger’s first syllable and I don’t want that to happen again.
TeenHollywood: Why do you think these characters are as popular today as they were when they were created so long ago?
Jim: These stories will always be sweet and these characters will always be great. They don’t need skateboards, they’re not selling Frisbees. They’re not linked to a fad, they’re not linked to any trend, and kids are always going to have wonderful childhood memories to draw from. It pulls on every heart string you have. They’re evergreen, they’ll always be there. No batteries required, just bring your heart and you’ll be happy.
TeenHollywood: Pooh says he’s “a bear of very little brains”, when you play him do you think you have to be a little goofy and not the brightest bulb?
Jim: He’s not all that self aware. I think he just sees the world through honey-colored glasses and he’s very plain-spoken.
Walt Disney Pictures
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