TIME Hollywood

Colin Firth Is Paddington Bear No More

Colin Firth arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit in New York
Actor Colin Firth arrives at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala Benefit in Manhattan on May 5, 2014 Carlo Allegri—Reuters

The split was amicable, both Firth and filmmakers say, and the film is still on schedule for a Christmas release

Paddington Bear, the beloved anthropomorphized creature of children’s literature, will no longer be voiced by Colin Firth, the beloved English actor of stage and screen, in the upcoming film adaptation of the picture-book series. Though a replacement for Firth hasn’t yet been determined, the Weinstein Company still aims to release the project in the U.S. on Christmas Day as planned.

The actor’s split from the film was amicable, according to both Firth and director Paul King.

“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,” King said in a statement. “So, with somewhat heavy hearts we decided to part ways.”

“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 Entertainment Weekly. “I’ve had the joy of seeing most of the film, and it’s going to be quite wonderful.”

Beyond finding a voice actor to replace Firth, work on the animated film is almost complete. Filmmakers released a trailer back in March — with Firth’s voice absent.

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