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Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie, who star in Goodbye Christopher Robin, celebrated the legacy of Winnie the Pooh on Wednesday night at the New York Public Library, where the original toys that inspired the characters are currently housed.
Directed by Simon Curtis, the Fox Searchlight historical drama sees Gleeson portraying beloved author creator A.A. Milne as he creates the magical world based on the toys of his son, Christopher Robin. Also starring Will Tilston and Kelly Macdonald, the biopic follows the Milne family as they’re swept up in the international success of the books, which bring hope and comfort to England in the wake of WWI but traumatizes Milne’s boy as he’s enveloped in unwanted fame.
“What was particularly difficult in Christopher Robin’s case is that there was no differentiation between him as a person and the character in the book,” Robbie, who plays Milne’s wife Daphne, told The Hollywood Reporter after a screening at New York City’s Paris Theater. “Child actors today made a choice to go into the industry and play characters, but Christopher Robin didn’t. He had that choice taken away from him and he was thrust into the limelight unwillingly.”
Though the father-son relationship in the film is complicated, Gleeson explained of the author’s bond with his son, “They had a beautiful relationship — they genuinely were good influences on each other’s lives, apart from this one big thing. I was struck by the tragedy and drama of that. It’s about enjoying being around each other while you have the time.”
And just as Winnie the Pooh brought joy to England and the world after the first World War, Gleeson hopes the movie can offer audiences some respite from a nonstop news cycle. “There’s an awful lot of ugliness in the world and to bring some beauty into it is a nice way of thinking about things,” he said. “That’s what A.A. Milne did with Winnie the Pooh, and hopefully this film will do a little bit of that.”
Goodbye Christopher Robin hits theaters Oct. 13.
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