Director Marc Forster Hopes To Deliver the Message of Hope, Joy, & Love in Christopher Robin
If you were to take a guess that Director Marc Forster could transition seamlessly from directing World War Z to Disney’s Christopher Robin, any normal person may have their doubts. There’s nothing similar between the two films, at all. One is for mature audiences only while Christopher Robin is for the whole family. Naysayers step aside and be ready to be amazed at how Marc Forster knows how to direct a truly stellar family movie. Every detail of Christopher Robin was on point and perfectly executed.
Many wonder how Marc Forster even came to be the director of this Disney classic. One simple request by his own daughter, who asked him to do a kid-friendly movie instead of an adults-only one, was all it took for him to be onboard with one of the most timeless and cherished children’s movies of all time. Disney’s Christopher Robin came to life thanks to the direction of Marc Forster.
Read our Exclusive Interview with Director Marc Forster on creating Christopher Robin:
Myself, along with 24 other bloggers, were invited by Disney to attend the #ChristopherRobinEvent to watch the premiere, interview the cast, and share our experiences with you. All expenses were paid and all opinions are our own.
How did Marc Forster get involved with Winnie the Pooh?
I was in a plane with my daughter and we were going on vacation. She was watching a Pooh cartoon on her Ipad and she suddenly turned to me and said, Dad, can’t you make a movie for kids once? She said all your movies are dark and for grownups and I can’t watch any of them. She was six at the time. I said, why don’t we do Pooh, jokingly. Ultimately, I came back and you know, all the stars aligned. Three years later, we made Pooh [LAUGHS].
So perhaps, the choice for Christopher Robin to have a daughter instead of a son may have indirectly been influenced by his conversation with his daughter. As Marc states, “Life imitates art or art imitates life.”
How did Director, Marc Forster, choose the cast?
It started basically when Ewan McGregor and I worked together (2004) and we stayed friends for a long time. We had been looking to do something together. He is comedically and dramatically so good. There’s something about him that is so likeable and so lovely. You want to just connect with him.
…So for Christopher Robin, you want for his heart to open up again and he becomes playful and reconnects with his family. It was really crucial to have an actor who has that sort of ability because otherwise you suddenly don’t connect with him or don’t want to root for him.
Were there any challenges to make sure everything was historically correct in Christopher Robin?
We did a lot of research. The idea was going back to the mid 1920’s when Pooh was created and Christopher Robin played with him. Then to pick up the movie basically when Christopher gets sent to boarding school. Then the film ends sort of like at post war 1949. The interesting thing is, the early 1950’s was actually a time in England when people had suddenly started getting paid vacation. So that all sort of aligned with our storytelling of Winslow Luggage. When Christopher brings up this idea that it’s important for people to do nothing and we take a vacation and sort of enjoy that.
Is there a part in the movie that features strong symbolism?
There’s a scene with Christopher Robin finding an old drawing of his Hundred Acre Woods’ Friends on the table that his daughter left for him. He accidentally tips over a jar which spilled on his old drawing.
I like metaphors in general. The idea was when he actually sees the drawing, that’s sort of when they come back into his consciousness and that’s sort of like when the animals come alive again.
Another metaphor used:
I wanted to end the movie with Ewan (Christopher Robin) wearing the red sweater and it was too short as well. I just thought it was funny.
How many iterations did Marc Forster go through to find the look of the characters?
I showed Michael Kutsche, the character designer, all the Shephard early drawings and I showed him the first black and white animation drawings from Disney. Then pointed out what I loved about the Shephard ones and about the early Disney drawings. Let’s combine it and then he started drawing them and creating 3D models….
Then Jenny Beavan sort of knitted the red sweater and we created that stuffed animal based on his drawings. It took us a couple months to get it right. Then also I wanted them to all feel hugged and loved. That they were not like a new sort of stuffed animal off the shelf. That they felt real, and that the boy played with them. There was sort of a history between them.
How much of the imagery in the film is true to the locations that the movie was filmed in?
We shot lots of scenes in Ashtown Forrest, next to where Milne’s Estate is and surround by woods…So the forest is ten miles down the road where we shot and the little river where we built our Pooh bridge is connected to the same river the real Pooh bridge is, so it’s all the same woods and neighborhood. We shot a little bit also in Windsor Park, outside Windsor Castle near the Queen’s Park. The great thing about that particular forest is that Queen’s Park, is sort of untouched. Every wood, every tree that falls down can’t be touched. Everything is just how nature brings it and it’s very wild and looks also very beautiful. So we shot fifteen percent there and the rest at Ashtown.
Marc Forster hopes that Christopher Robin delivers the message of hope, joy, and love for everyone.
I think ultimately for me the message is for in the times we live in. I think it’s so important to have hope, joy and love. Pooh is about love and reconnecting with the people you love…Everybody works so much today that to find that balance between work and the people you care for. Ultimately, we all don’t spend enough time together. I don’t want to speak for everybody else, but, I think that mainly the generalization is we don’t spend enough time or attention to the people we love. I think that’s really why we’re here, is to connect with one another.
What is Marc Forster’s favorite character?
I definitely think for me it’s, it’s Pooh and right second it’s Eeyore and Piglet. I have definitely Eeyore and a Piglet side of me. I’m a very big optimist, but there’s still sometimes where I think it’s too late. There’s sort of Piglet, these moments of worry and fear creeps in and suddenly I think what am I doing?
The scene that Marc was most proud of:
I think for me one of the scenes which I love is the center scene when, when Ewan McGregor sits down next to Pooh and explains to him how he isn’t himself anymore and apologized to him. Ultimately seeing that, that hug and then Pooh says, you’re squeezing me again.
Then I think at that moment, I just love it because ultimately it’s about Ewan waking up. Christopher Robin realizes who he really is and what he has become and from then on, he sort of makes a moment of change. Then when he’s in the train and starts playing the game that Pooh played earlier, it’s sort of like, very sweet.
IF YOU ENJOYED THIS INTERVIEW WITH BRONTE CARMICHAEL, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE TO READ:
- Jim Cummings The Voice of Pooh and Tigger
- Exclusive Interview with Ewan McGregor in Christopher Robin
- My Christopher Robin Red Carpet Experience
- Emotionally Connecting Interview with Hayley Atwell
WATCH THIS CHRISTOPHER ROBIN OFFICIAL TRAILER:
CHRISTOPHER ROBIN IS NOW PLAYING IN THEATRES EVERYWHERE
Unless otherwise noted, all photos taken during the interview with Marc Forster should be properly credited to Louise Manning Bishop of Momstart.com