In my mind, movie directors are these beret wearing dudes clad, head to toe, in black, rocking a pair of patent leather kicks, sans socks.
They’re the kind of dudes who speak of themselves in the third person, always look bothered when you approach them, and carry around a massive book they probably aren’t really reading, written ages before electricity was a thing.
So, you know, like super weird and super judgy and super stuck up and super not fun to hang out with if you’re the type of chick who likes to chill and rocks a little baby belly that is more from the chocolate you sneak in your bathroom than it is from your actual babies.
Totally stereotypes garnered from some cartoon I probably watched in 1985.
And, totally not true (although I bet you there is a beret wearing director out there who is going through an existential crisis who fits this to a tee!).
When I met Marc Forster, director of Disney’s Christopher Robin, there wasn’t a beret in sight. He didn’t have a copy of the Iliad in his hands, and he wasn’t wearing patent leather shoes. He had on Chucks, probably with socks, although his pants were too long for me to tell for sure. And, while he was dressed head to toe in black, I feel like that’s just because black is easy and awesome and goes great with Chucks.
He was kind, he was forthcoming, and he was super passionate about this beautiful film he’d created. And, I dug his accent, because accents are cool.
Christopher Robin the Movie
Disney’s Christopher Robin seeks to tell the story of what happens to young Christopher Robin when he leaves Winnie the Pooh and all of his dear friends from the Hundred Acre Woods behind to join the real world of adulthood and responsibility. It is the scary, stressful, dismal place where magic no longer exists and things like your mortgage and your marriage keep you up at night.
It is the place pretty much all of us live daily –where finding a semblance of balance between wants and needs, and work and home, and happiness and responsibility is elusive and, at times, seemingly impossible.
Christopher Robin, played by actor Ewan McGregor, takes us on an adventure of rediscovery and realization that the magic indeed lives on, among the marriages and the mortgages and the other things that we’re sometimes required to put before passions. He’d just forgotten about it until a “silly old bear” came along to remind him.
For those familiar with Marc Forster’s work, a sweet family movie with Winnie-the-Pooh as one of your main cast members seems a little out of character for him. I mean, he’s the dude known for directing dramas and thrillers like Monster’s Ball (you know, the one Halle Berry won an Oscar for?), one of the James Bond flicks, and World War Z (arguably the most successful zombie movie of all time).
Kinda makes it surprising that Pooh Bear is also his jam.
But, I guess that’s what being a parent will do to you.
As Forster shared, it was his daughter that help to plant the Pooh seed in his brain:
I was in a plane with my daughter and we were flying to a vacation, and she’s watching an iPad, a Pooh cartoon… she suddenly turned to me and said, Hey, can’t you make a movie for kids once?… all your movies are like, dark and for grownups and I can’t watch any of them. She was six at the time and I said, yeah, why don’t we do Pooh? I said jokingly. I said, yeah. Why don’t we do Pooh? And then ultimately, I came back and you know, all the stars aligned.
And the stars continued to align as the cast of the film began to sign on with Forster to help him bring his vision for this film to life.
McGregor and Atwell both shared that they were inspired to join the Christopher Robin cast specifically because of the direction Forster was planning to take the film. As McGregor shared:
I think what inspired me was the way Mark spoke about it first. He called me and told me he was going to direct it and described it to me, how he saw it, and what he thought it could be and how this movie might be an important movie for now, like it could be a good film for people to watch at this point in time. That was really what inspired me. And then the lovely script –I really liked reading it.”
It’s this script that tells a story Forster hopes viewers can see is about connection and love and making sure that we find the time to meaningfully be with the people we care most about:
…you know, in the times we live in, I think it’s so important to have hope, joy and, and really, you know, it’s about love and Pooh is about love and reconnecting with the people you love and we all guilty of that, that we, you know, everybody works so much today that to find that balance between work and the people you care for..”
Which Forster believes is what we’re all here for in the first place.
Christopher Robin opened in theaters nationwide August 3.
Read my full movie review here: Disney’s Christopher Robin: A Silly Old Bear with a Big Old Heart
Read my interview with Ewan McGregor here: Ewan McGregor Interview: On Acting, Films, and Christopher Robin
Read my interview with Jim Cummings, the voice of both Winnie the Pooh and Tigger here: Winnie the Pooh & Tigger Too: An Interview with Jim Cummings
Read my interview with Hayley Atwell here: An Interview with Hayley Atwell
Read my interview with Bronte Carmichael here: 10 Fun Facts About Bronte Carmichael