Christopher Robin has wandered much further today than he should, and he can’t seem to find his way back to the wood.
The first teaser trailer for Disney’s live-action Christopher Robin has arrived, reintroducing two of the most beloved characters in children’s literature: the boy and his bear. This time, however, that boy is all grown up and played by Ewan McGregor, and it’s been a very long time since he’s seen his old friend Winnie the Pooh.
But, as the now-adult Christopher Robin soon realizes, he could use a little more magic in his life, and he still has a lot to learn from his kindly ursine companion.
“The movie is so full of joy and emotion and also of scenes that I think are very timely,” director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) tells EW. “[Pooh] is still as relevant today as he’s ever been. Perhaps even more so.”
Not to be confused with last year’s Goodbye Christopher Robin — which starred Domhnall Gleeson as Pooh author A.A. Milne — Christopher Robin is a whimsical fantasy set in the late 1940s. The adult Christopher has returned from World War II and now lives with his wife (Hayley Atwell) and young daughter in London, where he works for a company selling luggage.
“Obviously, [Ewan] is a grown man, but he also has a very boyish look to him that I feel was important to be connected to,” Forster says. “You feel like there’s this inner child to him, even though it’s buried. It’s there.”
The first trailer finds Christopher Robin forced to cancel a planned weekend getaway with his family, as his demanding boss (Mark Gatiss) pressures him to stay. As he ponders what to do, he’s visited by his beloved Winnie the Pooh, voiced by longtime Pooh actor Jim Cummings.
While past Pooh stories have focused on adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood, the screenplay by Alex Ross Perry and Allison Schroeder explores how Pooh’s philosophy of positivity and friendship can extend to the real world.
“I believe he’s not just a lovely teddy bear for children to play with or who can put you in a good mood,” Forster says. “There’s this timeliness to him, and his Pooh-isms, as naive as they sound, there’s always so much truth to them. He doesn’t take himself seriously, but there’s so much substance. They make you smile, but at the same time, you think, he’s so right. There’s almost a New Age aspect to them. Milne was able to capture that, and that sort of philosophy of the character gives him a timeless aspect.”
There have been dozens of versions of the honey-loving bear over the years, from Christopher Robin’s original stuffed bear to E.H. Shepard’s 1920s illustrations to the 1977 Disney animated movie. The filmmakers drew from all of them to create an animated Pooh that still felt familiar but also worked in a live-action world.
“We had I think 20 or 30 different fabrics and colors and different sweaters we were knitting,” he explains. “We created a real bear, and that’s how we would block the scene on set.”
The first trailer only shows the reunion between Pooh and Christopher Robin, but the film will also see the return of all the old Hundred Acre Wood staples: Tigger (voiced by Chris O’Dowd), Eeyore (Brad Garrett), Owl (Toby Jones), Piglet (Nick Mohammed), Rabbit (Peter Capaldi), and Kanga (Sophie Okonedo).
Disney also shared a first poster from the film, which (unsurprisingly) shows Pooh getting into a bit of trouble.
Christopher Robin will hit theaters Aug. 3.