Sometimes, the story of how a classic tale was conceived can be highly interesting, and Hollywood has no shortage of examples that highlight this point. Well-received films such as Finding Neverland and Saving Mr. Banks have explored the origins of Peter Pan and Mary Poppins, providing a fresh spin on something audiences are already familiar with. Given that both of those movies achieved a good deal of critical and commercial success, it shouldn't come as any surprise that studios are on the hunt for similar projects.
Fox Searchlight has one such film coming through the pipeline in the form of an untitled biopic about A.A. Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh (which is now one of Disney's most popular properties). It has attracted a star-studded cast that includes the likes of Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie. In a press release, the studio announced that principal photography has now commenced.
A.A. Milne is currently filming on location in Oxfordshire, Surrey, East Sussex, and London. Since Milne was a British author, it's nice to see the filmmakers using the U.K. for their production. Gleeson will play Milne while Robbie is portraying Milne's wife Daphne. Kelly MacDonald is on board to star as Olive, the nanny for Milne's young son Christopher Robin, who will be brought to life by Will Tilston. In addition, USA Today unveiled the first still images, which you can see below:
The film will detail the relationship between Milne and Christopher Robin, whose toys served as the primary inspiration for the original Winnie the Pooh books. Longtime fans will certainly recognize that name as the human friend of Pooh and the other animals in the Hundred Acre Wood. The Milne family are swept up in the overwhelming success of the character, but it could come at a great cost to them since so many eyes are on Christopher Robin. Later in his life, Milne's son expressed displeasure with his name being used in the stories, writing that he felt his father had left him with "nothing but empty fame." It will be fascinating to see how the dynamic between Milne and Christopher is handled in the film.
A.A. Milne is directed by Simon Curtis, the filmmaker best known for helming My Week With Marilyn and The Woman in Gold. The former of that duo was nominated for two acting Oscars, illustrating that Curtis can get great work out of his cast. The script was written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, who has received a number of accolades during his career. Boyce's script was based on an earlier screenplay by Simon Vaughn, whose lone other credit is the TV Movie A Bear Named Winnie. It's true that this creative team may not be the most prolific in the industry, but they've all demonstrated strong abilities in the past, and Fox Searchlight has had tremendous success on the awards circuit recently. The studio must have faith in Curtis, Boyce, and Vaughn.
Disney is said to be developing a live-action Winnie the Pooh film, which will be more of a traditional big screen adaptation of the Pooh brand. Curtis' movie being a biopic of its original creator means that the two films could very well make for nice companion pieces when it's all said and done, allowing fans to be entertained by the silly old bear and learn about what spawned his inception. Pooh and his companions have a loyal following, so there's sure to be much interest in both when they come out.
We'll keep you updated on the untitled A.A. Milne biopic as more information becomes available.
Sources: Fox Searchlight, USA Today