Paddington – a British story with international appeal

Today sees the UK release of StudioCanal and Heyday Films’ much-anticipated Paddington, a live-action adaptation of Michael Browns’ internationally beloved children’s books, revolving round a calamitous Peruvian bear. American audiences will have to wait a little longer, with the film being released in the US on 16 January.

UK VFX bring Paddington to life

The production uses a mixture of live action and CGI to bring the eponymous bear to life, and some of the biggest names working within the UK’s world class VFX industry helped to create the effects on show, with Framestore and Double Negative working on the project.

The studios have significant experience of providing industry-leading VFX for projects, regularly picking up plaudits for their efforts; and both have recently won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects, for their work on Gravity and Inception (both Warner Bros.) respectively.

UK talent features throughout the production, with a largely UK crew including Director Paul King, Editor Mark Everson, Production Designer Gary Williamson, Supervising Location Manager Jonah Coombes, Art Director Su Whitaker, Costume Designer Lindy Hemming, Unit Production Manager Tim Wellspring and Executive Producers Rosie Alison and Alexandra Ferguson.

The film’s key producer David Heyman is no stranger to producing major features in the UK, having also produced Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter series – which grossed over $7.7 billion, led to the redevelopment of Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, and the studio’s The Making of Harry Potter tour.

The cast is also a who’s who of UK talent, with Sir Michael Gambon, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi and Imelda Staunton being joined by Jim Broadbent, Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville, arguably most well known for his starring role in international television phenomenon Downton Abbey (Carnival Film & Television). Paddington himself is voiced by Ben Whishaw, one of the UK’s most exciting young talents and instantly recognisable to international audiences as the latest actor to portray Q in the James Bond series (MGM /Sony Columbia/Eon).

Paddington finds his bear-ings in the UK

Appropriately for a bear named after a train station, Paddington travels far and wide throughout the film, with the production taking advantage of the diverse array of locations available in the UK.

Mainly set in London, Paddington liaised with Film London to facilitate its shooting at over 30 different locations in the English Capital, including the Natural History Museum, Buckingham Palace and the Georgian streets of Primrose Hill. The production also liaised with Creative England, taking in Essex and Hertfordshire, shooting at the atmospheric Tilbury Docks as well as the stately setting of Hatfield House. The British Film Commission also provided support on key locations.

Additionally, Paddington made full use of the UK’s world-class studios, filming both at Elstree Studios and at Shepperton Studios, as well as carrying out post production work at Pinewood Post Production along with Warner Bros. De Lane Lea.

Cinemagoers will have a lot of choice in the coming months, with other major UK-produced features being released including Exodus: Gods and Kings (Twentieth Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment/Scott Free Productions), Mortdecai (Lionsgate) and Disney’s highly anticipated fantasy Into the Woods.