Director Marc Forster on Making 'Christopher Robin' for His Daughter

Premiere of Christopher Robin - Getty - H 2018
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

The helmer joined stars Ewan McGregor and Brad Garrett for the premiere of the film Monday night at Walt Disney Studios.

Like many among the cast and crew of Christopher Robin, director Marc Forster grew up with Winnie the Pooh. So did his daughter. So for him, bringing the creatures of Hundred Acre Woods to life wasn’t just about recreating a classic tale.

"My daughter was watching Winnie the Pooh the cartoon, and she looked at me and she said, ‘Can you finally make a movie for me?'" he told The Hollywood Reporter at the world premiere for the film Monday night.

Forster knew making a Winnie the Pooh film would mean something to both of them. “I said, ‘If we make the movie, I’m not just making it for you. I’m making it for me as well, and my mom and for everybody.’ Because all the great classic Disney movies, you feel like they’re made for families, for everybody. Not just for kids.”

The pic follows Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) as an adult who has forgotten the value of friends, family and simple pleasures in life. Winnie the Pooh and the whole crew of woodland creatures must venture to London to help him find his way and rediscover the imagination from his childhood.

From the tattered picket fence that lined the red carpet to the carts full of honey sticks along the path to the theater, the premiere — held at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank — did its best to reconnect the attendees with the tale of Winnie the Pooh, just like Christopher Robin. Even the cast felt the nostalgia.

“I must have been read all the stories,” McGregor told THR. “I’ve read them all to my kids. I don’t know if my parents read me all the books, but certainly the first one.”

Unlike his character, McGregor said he didn’t find it difficult to tap into a sense of childlike imagination and playfulness. “I have that in my head. I’m like that myself,” the actor explained.

Cookies in the shape of honey pots and biscuits with honey butter were served to connect the audience further with the beloved bear and his friends. A notable gesture was when voice actor Jim Cummings told people to “stay just as sweet as honey forever” in the timid voice of Pooh as he made his way down the red carpet.

Since the iconic animals could make or break the film’s attempt at a nostalgic tone, finding the right personalities to voice them was as important as finding the live-action cast. Brad Garrett, the voice of Eeyore, knew he had to find a balance between staying true to the character that audiences know and love while also adding a new layer. “[Eeyore] is such an iconic character that you have to really stay true to it, and there are perimeters,” the actor told THR. “When Marc was directing, he wanted to find other little bits and pieces of Eeyore that maybe we haven’t seen, even if it was just a quick little second of hopefulness.”

Christopher Robin maintains the sense of hopefulness throughout, primarily from Eeyore, Piglet, Pooh and Tigger, who are eager to reunite with their friend after decades without him and are hopeful he’ll come around. Cummings, who voices both Pooh and Tigger, said he thinks that if Christopher Robin can lose sight, we all can: “I think that we all get caught up, no matter who we are. It’s crazy out there.”

Christopher Robin bows Friday.