Minding his P’s and Q’s: Bond star to voice Paddington Bear

Posted Jul 22, 2014 by Mathew Wace Peck
He’s already ‘Q’ to Daniel Craig’s 007 and will soon be seen and heard as ‘Q’ueen frontman Freddie Mercury; and, while, he didn’t replace Matt Smith as the Doctor, Ben Whishaw will be voicing ‘Paddington Bear in this year’s movie.
Ben Whishaw
Ben Whishaw
Whishaw has now been named as the actor to replace Colin Firth, who was to have voiced the children's character but pulled out of the film, Paddington, last month.
As reported by Sylvannia Soulet for Digital Journal, Firth said of the decision to withdraw from the film: “After a period of denial, we’ve chosen ‘conscious uncoupling.’”
The actor continued: “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.”
At the time, Paddington director Paul King confirmed that the joint decision was amicable: “I cannot thank [Colin] 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.”
This won’t be the first time that Whishaw has replaced an actor previously signed up for a film role. Back in December 2013, it was announced that the 34-year-old had signed on to play Queen’s Freddie Mercury, in the long-planned biopic about the late singer. Previously, the part had been allocated to Sacha Baron Cohen, who pulled out of the project in July that year.
Other films Whishaw is known for include The Trench (1999), Layer Cake (2004), Perfume (2006), Brideshead Revisited (2008), The Tempest (2010) and Cloud Atlas (2012).
Whishaw, who has been married to the composer Mark Bradshaw since 2012, first appeared in the iconic role of Q in that year — in Skyfall, Daniel Craig's third outing as James Bond — and is expected to reprise it for the next.
He also has a varied television career, having appeared in dramas such as the first UK season of Criminal Justice (2008), The Hour (2011–12) and The Hollow Crown: Richard II (2012), for which he won Best Male Actor Award at this year's BAFTAs.
He is also often named as a future Doctor Who, although, in 2013, when the BBC were looking for someone to replace Matt Smith in the long-running sci-fi-dama series, Whishaw said, “It’s not going to be me,” he said, "I don’t think you can be Q and Doctor Who. It would be a bit wrong.”
‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man!’
In the event, Peter Capaldi was announced as the new Doctor. However, the show’s head writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat, told Doctor Who Magazine earlier this year that Whishaw would make “a brilliant Doctor.” Given that Moffat cast Smith in 2009 but had considered Capaldi then, too, next time could well see Whishaw taking the key to the TARDIS.
Back to Paddington: two trailers have already been released for the movie, with the first, a 51-second teaser, appearing online at the beginning of March. The second — “Paddington Official Trailer #1” — following in mid-June.
Paddington — which also stars Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Jim Broadbent and the aforementioned Peter Capaldi — is set for a US release date of Christmas Day 2014.