June 18, 2014 - 13:38 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Colin Firth, who had been due to voice Paddington Bear in a blockbuster Hollywood film, has pulled out, The Telegraph reported.
The actor, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of King George VI in The King's Speech, had been working on a film about the much loved bear which is due to be released late this year.
In a statement he said: "After a period of denial we've chosen 'conscious uncoupling.'" That was reference to the term used by Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin when they announced their recent divorce.
Firth continued: "It's been bittersweet to see this delightful creature take shape and come to the sad realisation that he simply doesn't have my voice.
"I've had the joy of seeing most of the film and it's going to be quite wonderful. I still feel rather protective of this bear and I'm pestering them all with suggestions for finding a voice worthy of him."
Firth and Paul King, the film's director, said the parting of the ways had been amicable.
King said: "I cannot thank him enough for his contribution to Paddington. We love the voice and we love the bear, but as our young bear came into being we agreed that the two didn't seem to fit. So, with somewhat heavy hearts we decided to part ways."
The film also features the voices of Nicole Kidman, Peter Capaldi, Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville. Firth's decision to pull out was first reported by Entertainment Weekly.
A new actor to voice Paddington has yet to be selected and will have to redo all Firth's lines.
It is unusual for a voice actor to pull out of a project so late, although last year Samantha Morton's was replaced at a very late stage by Scarlett Johansson in the Oscar-winning film Her.
The makers of the Paddington film, Studiocanal and The Weinstein Company, are still planning to release the film on Nov 28 in the UK, and on Christmas Day in the US, with a new voice for the bear.